Following Day One of this year’s NHL Draft, the Winnipeg Jets entered the second part of this event with just three selections through the final six rounds, including picks No. 50, 82 and 146.
While general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff could’ve decided to trade back into the draft, potentially in the sixth or seventh round, he and his staff’s efforts proved to be ineffective on that front. As a result, the Jets will come away with just four new additions to their organization, which is the same number of skaters they selected in last year’s draft.
Here are Winnipeg’s selections from Day Two of the 2021 NHL Draft:
Round Two: (RW) Nikita Chibrikov
Team: SKA St. Petersburg
FC Hockey Rank: No. 21
Performing in three separate leagues this past season – including the KHL, VHL and MHL – Chibrikov, 18, posted a combined seven goals, 19 points and a -5 rating over 47 games. Serving as the captain of Team Russia during the 2021 U18 World Championship tournament, the 5’10” winger flourished in that role, registering four goals, 13 points and a +7 rating through just seven games.
Player Report From FC Hockey’s Derek Neumeier:
“In terms of pure pull-you-out-of-your-seat skill, Chibrikov is among the elite of this draft class. With lightning acceleration and sublime hands, he is a real threat in transition. Give him a little too much time and space to work with in open ice and you’ve got a huge problem on your hands. Has the wheels to beat opponents wide and gain that all-important separation.
“He is also quite an elusive player, as he is able to slow the pace down, shift his weight seamlessly from side to side, and deceive defenders with his hands, feet or head movement. Shows poise with the puck on his stick and calmness under pressure. Finds his teammates with passes in motion and can maneuver the puck into better shooting lanes. Does a good job of spotting opportunities on offense. My problem in this viewing is that I didn’t see a lot of everything I just mentioned. There were flashes of brilliance, but they were few and far between. His effort level and intensity cut in and out, as there were some shifts where he wanted to dominate the play, but the ones where he blended into the scenery were the most common. Could be something that is chalked up to playing at a professional level.
“Got physical on the forecheck on one shift and threw a big hit, so it’s nice to see that he has at least a little sandpaper to his game. Looks a little lost without the puck in his coverage and his gaps, and he needs to put in more work to get it back. Chibrikov possesses a lot of very translatable talent, he’ll just need some developmental time and attention on his play without the puck.”
Round Three: (LD) Dmitri Kuzmin
FC Hockey Rank: No. 165
Despite a somewhat quiet offensive performance during the regular season in 2020-21, where he only recorded three goals and 12 points in 46 games, Kuzmin, 18, quickly broke out of those scoring woes in the playoffs by creating three goals and four points through just six games. Carrying that momentum over into the U18 tournament, while representing Team Belarus, the 5’10” defenseman generated one goal, five points and a +3 rating over five games.
Player Report From FC Hockey’s Brandon Holmes:
“This was a strong offensive showing for Kuzmin for Belarus at the Under-18s, as he came away with three assists during his 24 minutes of time-on-ice while playing on the top pair against Latvia. Throughout the game, Kuzmin was clearly an aggressive, puck-rushing offensive defenseman whose primary focus was generating scoring chances for his team. He looked most comfortable when quarterbacking his team’s power play, displaying strong puck distribution skills with efficient passes while also showing creativity to open up passing lanes.
“He excels at using his edgework and mobility to pull opposing defenders out of position and is capable of making quick turns and smooth crossovers to shake checkers and open space for himself in the offensive zone. Kuzmin was entirely unafraid of joining the attack from the offensive blue line, often sneaking down from the blue line to assist his forwards in sustained offensive zone time. More often than not, Kuzmin chose to pinch at the offensive blue line in an attempt to preserve possession of the puck in the offensive zone, however, I felt at times he was too aggressive when choosing to pinch and will need to do a better job of picking his moments to do so in the future.
“Defensively, Kuzmin shined at defending the rush, once again using his four-way mobility to control gaps and push opposing puck carriers to the perimeter of the offensive zone. Kuzmin did a better job of boxing opponents out in front of his own net compared to previous viewings, however, his lack of size and strength did come into play when defending below the goal line and battling for loose pucks, as he more often than not came up short in those situations. When transitioning the puck out of his own zone, he did a better job of making smart decisions with the puck and was efficient at connecting with outlet passes out of his own zone, but there were a couple of occasions where he was guilty of overhandling the puck in his own zone.
“Overall, this was a good showing for Kuzmin, as he showcased the offensive prowess that could make him a very good pro power play quarterback someday.”
Round Five: (RW) Dmitri Rashevsky
Team: Dynamo St. Petersburg
FC Hockey: N/A
While Rashevsky, 20, enjoyed one of the top statistical performances of his career in 2019-20, where he scored 44 goals and 74 points through 61 games with MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg of the MHL, he went unselected during the 2020 NHL Draft. Making his first appearance in the VHL – the second-highest level of hockey in Russia – this past season, the 6’1″ winger suited up for Dynamo St. Petersburg and experienced a minor adjustment period, as he created 11 goals and 16 points in 24 games.
Player Report From Elite Prospects:
“Rashevsky’s motor never stops. Be it on the forecheck and on the backcheck, at the start of his shift or at the end of his shift, in the MHL, the VHL, or the KHL, the forward is single-minded; he wants the puck on his stick and in the back of the opposing net. He rarely over-dangles, preferring to use teammates and make give-and-goes to get out of tight situations.”
Free-agent frenzy is slated to open across the league on Jul. 28 at 11 am CT.