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Introducing the 4 players who make up the Jets 2024 draft class

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Photo credit:© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
15 days ago
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The 2024 NHL entry draft officially wrapped up earlier today. Day 2 of the draft featured rounds 2-7, where the Jets were scheduled to make 5 selections. The Jets made one draft day 2 trade, sending the Jets’ original 4th round pick and their original 7th round pick in this draft for a 4th round pick that was 14 spots higher. The Jets made selections in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds of the draft. It was an overall pretty successful afternoon for the Jets, and each of their newest prospects have something to bring to the team. Here are your 4 newest members of the Winnipeg Jets organization.
2nd round, 37th overall: Alfons Freij, LD, Vaxjo Lakers Jr. (Swe-Jr.)
The Jets 1st selection was a Swedish defenceman by the name of Alfons Freij. Scouts describe Freij as a gifted playmaking defenceman. The 18-year old is 6’1″, 187 lbs, shoots left handed, and got 14 goals and 19 assists in 40 games for the Vaxjo Lakers Jr. team in Sweden. Freij excels with his puck-moving abilities, and he’s the type of defence who likes to use deception to fool his opponents. Freij projects to be a 2nd pairing defenceman who will have the ability to be effective on the powerplay. The Jets did not have a specific need going into this draft, but with several defence prospects approaching the NHL, they decided to start the draft by adding a defence to their prospect pool.
4th round, 109th overall: Kevin He, LW, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Originally picking at 123rd overall, the Jets traded pick #123 and pick #219 to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for pick #109. With this pick, the Jets selected Kevin He, who became the high-drafted Chinese-born player in NHL history. The 18-year old is 5’11”, 182 lbs, shoots left handed, and got 31 goals and 22 assists in 61 games for the Niagara IceDogs in the Ontario Hockey League. Scouts describe He as a workhorse with great drive which leads to his success. He is a strong skater who isn’t afraid to get physical, and his forechecking presence is what helps him creating scoring chances. The Jets add a dynamic winger who hopes to make an impact on the Jets in just a few seasons.
5th round, 155th overall: Markus Loponen, C, Karpat (SM-sarja)
As the draft entered the later rounds, the Jets used their last 2 picks on centres. Markus Loponen is a Finnish offensive centre. The 18-year old is 6’1″, 185 lbs, shoots left handed, and got 25 goals and 29 assists in 45 games for Karpat in the Finnish junior league. Scouts describe Loponen as a player who has a toolbox of different kinds of shots that he can use to score. His signature shot is a “catch-and-release” wrister. Loponen won the rookie of the year this season in the U-20 SM-sarja league, and he hopes to make an impact with the Jets with his offensive skills, highlighted by his great shot.
6th round, 187th overall: Kieron Walton, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
For the final pick of the Jets 2024 draft, the Jets went back to another centre, this one from Canada. Kieron Walton is notable for his puck skills, but especially for his size. The 18-year old is 6’6″, 211 lbs, shoots left handeed, and got 18 goals and 25 assists in 65 games with the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League. Apart from his great natural size, something you can’t teach, Walton caught multiple scouts’ attention for his passing skills. Walton likes to use his size to deke around defenders, and uses his vision to find the right areas to pass the puck. The Jets are hoping that Walton will one day make the Jets and will be a presence in the bottom 6 part of the lineup.
The Jets were content after making their final pick in the 6th round, and finished the draft with these 4 picks. From an early outside look, it appears the Jets were trying to go for quality over quantity this year. In his pre-draft media availability, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did not have a comment on the Rutger McGroarty situation, and he stated that Nikolaj Ehlers remains an important member of the team. McGroarty and Ehlers are 2 players that were rumoured to be involved in recent trade talks heading into the draft, but the Jets decided to not make a move yet. Now that the draft is complete, all of the attention turns to July 1st, where teams will be looking to add new additions to their roster from the free agent market. It’s an exciting time of the NHL off-season, and we will continue to cover all of the latest Jets news as it unfolds.

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