The JetsNation Fan Favorite Gauntlet Series (try saying that three times fast) rolls on and it’s starting to become The Ville Heinola Show.
The Finnish rookie defenseman who was in all of eight games with the Jets this past season has now won six votes in a row and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down as we head into the third week of our tournament.
We started the Gauntlet Series a little over a week ago and if you want to go over the concept and rules, you can go over our introduction here. Every day at around 2 PM(ish) CST, we’ll have a new vote where the winner from the previous day takes on a new Jet.
Ville Heinola’s gantlet path…
I’m still processing how Ville got past Sami Niku with relative ease.
As I set this gauntlet up, I figured we’d have a run or two like this early on as some of the highly thought of prospects like Jansen Harkins, Niku or Heinola would do well, but the success of Heinola in this has been been a bit eye opening. He won relatively close votes against Dylan DeMelo and Jansen Harkins, but since then he’s won his last four votes with ease with the Niku vote being the most surprising.
Ville Heinola has won four matches in a row in our Fan Favorite Gauntlet.. But this might be his toughest match yet.
Pick your favorite between these two #NHLJets:
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 16, 2020
Even the vote against Anthony Bitetto was a bit of a surprise… Not that Heinola won it, but that it was relatively easy against a Jet who has kept himself active and engaging with fans over on his Twitch channel.
Heinola is up to five wins in a row in out Gauntlet series! Can anyone stop this run he's on?
Vote for your favorite #NHLJets player between these two:
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 17, 2020
I won’t reveal who the next five Jets are scheduled to come up, but based on what we’ve seen so far with the voting, I’d be shocked if Ville’s win streak didn’t get up to triple digits.
#88 – Nathan Beaulieu
Nathan Beaulieu is in his second season with the Winnipeg Jets, although he has struggled to stay in the lineup most times due to injuries. The 6’2″ former first round (Montreal 17th overall) pick from 2011, isn’t afraid to play a rough, physical style to go along with his fairly reliable puck moving skills, but that physical play has led to time on the shelf.
Beaulieu isn’t afraid to drop the mitts either and according to HockeyFights.com has done so four times as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Maybe the most memorable dust-up he had was this altercation against Minnesota Wild defenseman Luke Kunin on December 21, 2019.
While no one ever admitted as much, the fight late in a rather one-sided affair was likely in response to a late, questionable hit delivered by Kunin on Bryan Little in Winnipeg’s final preseason game at the tail end that previous September.
After the game, the Jets captain Blake Wheeler made sure to point out Beaulieu’s work…
Jets captain Blake Wheeler hands the fighter helmet the Jets give out after the game to Nathan Beaulieu with the words "we take care of each other boys. Remember that boys". #NHLJets
— Dave Minuk (@ICdave) December 21, 2019
The Fan Favorite Gauntlet Series is quickly becoming The Ville Heinola Show. Which #NHLJets player is going to stop him?
Vote for your favorite layer between…
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 18, 2020
How the Gauntlet Series has gone down…
May 7 – Four way ‘play-in’ vote between Joona Luoto / Mark Letestu / Nick Shore / Andrei Chibisov >>> Won by Chibisov (37%)
May 8 – Four way ‘play-in’ vote between CJ Suess / Cody Eakin / Logan Shaw / Carl Dahlstrom >>> Won by Eakin (58%)
May 9 – Andrei Chibisov vs Cody Eakin >>> Won by Eakin (71%)
May 10 – Cody Eakin vs Dylan DeMelo >>> Won by DeMelo (84%)
May 11 – Dylan DeMelo vs David Gustafsson >>> Won by DeMelo (84%)
May 12 – Dylan DeMelo vs Ville Heinola >>> Won by Heinola (57%)
May 13 – Ville Heinola vs Jansen Harkins >>> Won by Heinola (55%)
May 14 – Ville Heinola vs Laurent Brossoit >>> Won by Heinola (72%)
May 15 – Ville Heinola vs Gabriel Bourque >>> Won by Heinola (94%)
May 16 – Ville Heinola vs Sami Niku >>> Won by Heinola (61%)
May 17 – Ville Heinola vs Anthony Bitetto >>> Won by Heinola (82%)