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Where are they now? The 2016 Winnipeg Jets draftees

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
25 days ago
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The 2016 NHL entry draft was one to remember for some teams and one to forget for others. I kind of lied when I said my article about the 2015 Winnipeg Jets draftees would be the last one for this “series”, since I decided to do one last one today. This will be the last one for sure this time, and before I get into the 2016 draft, I’ll quickly summarize what the rest of the Winnipeg Jets draft classes (post-2016) are looking like as of today. It’s now under 2 weeks until the 2024 NHL entry draft, and I’ve just been in the mood lately to talk anything draft related. All I got to say is that 2016 was a big draft for the Jets, but fast forward to 2024 and they only have 1 player left to show from it on their current roster.
But before the 2016 draft, as promised, I will quickly summarize the highlights from the rest of the Jets draft classes post-2016. The 2017 Jets draftees are highlighted by their 2nd round pick from that year, Dylan Samberg. The Jets got some NHL games out of their 1st round pick that year, Kristian Vesalainen and their 3rd round pick, Johnathan Kovacevic, but Samberg remains the only player from the 2017 draft class on the Jets roster, and will look to have an impact next season. The 2018 draft was highlighted by David Gustafsson in the 2nd round, who continues to improve his game. The 2019 draft was highlighted by Ville Heinola, another player who been developing and will look to earn a full-time spot with the Jets next season.
Entering the 2020s, and the only current successful pick from the 2020 draft for the Jets is Cole Perfetti. The 2021 draft may have 2 successful picks, with Chaz Lucius and Nikita Chibrikov looking like promising prospects. 2022 might just one-up the 2021 draft, with 3 potential impact prospects on the way in Rutger McGroarty, Brad Lambert and Elias Salomonsson. Finally, the 2023 draft is currently highlighted by Colby Barlow, with some solid late round picks that also may have a shot at the NHL in a few years time.
Round 1, 2nd overall: Patrik Laine
I hope I summarized the rest of the Jets draft classes from post-2016 well enough, because now it’s time to look at one of the most successful Jets draft picks of all-time: Patrik Laine. Laine was an easy choice at 2nd overall, and he came out in his first few seasons of his career with the Jets putting up some crazy good numbers. While Laine remains a dangerous goal scorer, his time with the Blue Jackets since being traded in the 2020-21 season hasn’t gone the way he’s wanted. Reports have come out recently that Laine will work with his agent and the Blue Jackets on a trade that will give him a fresh start next season with a new team. Make no mistake, while Laine’s current contract is pricey, teams will be lining up to try to find a reasonable way of acquiring Laine for the 2024-25 season and beyond.
Round 1, 18th overall: Logan Stanley
Laine was the big story from the Jets 2016 draft picks, but they did have another 1st round pick this year. However, Stanley has not exactly lived up to his 1st round potential. After 2 seasons in the AHL to begin his pro career, Stanley has spent the last 4 seasons with the Jets. Stanley hasn’t be able to play a “full” season yet because he has dealt with some injuries or been a “7th” defence at times in the season. Going into this off-season, Stanley is a restricted free agent, and I expect that the Jets will give Stanley another chance on a short term deal. The 2024-25 season will be an important year for Stanley, as he looks to try to secure an everyday role as a shutdown defenceman.
Round 3, 79th overall: Luke Green
Apart from Laine and Stanley there isn’t too much to talk about from this Jets draft class. The Jets were unable to find any mid or late round gems. Luke Green began his pro career with the Manitoba Moose from 2018-2020, but has since played internationally. Green has played in the SM-Liiga, the Swedish 1st Division, the Slovak League and last season in the German (DEL) league.
Round 4, 97th overall: Jacob Cederholm
Moving into the later rounds, and the Jets went with a Swedish defence in round 4. Cederholm played 10 games for the Manitoba Moose from 2017-2019 before playing with the Jacksonville Icemen in the ECHL. After the 2020-21 season, Cederholm decided to retire from professional hockey.
Round 5, 127th overall: Jordan Stallard
Every Jets draft class seems to have a player who becomes a “journeyman”, and Stallard has been just that. After returning to the juniors for a final year after being drafted, Stallard began his pro career in 2018-19 in the ECHL. After that season, Stallard has played in the Austria League, the Elite Hockey League, the 3rd tier German League, the Southern USA League, back to the ECHL and finally in the 2nd Finnish League. Nothing but respect for a player who keeps his career going no matter where he’s playing around the world.
Round 6, 157th overall: Mikhail Berdin
Last but not least, a Russian goalie was selected as the final Jets draft pick in 2016. Berdin was beginning to look like he could make the NHL one day, posting some very solid numbers in the USHL and with the Manitoba Moose. However, the 2021-22 season would be the final season with the Moose for Berdin, who has since gone back to Russia to play in the KHL. You may have seen Berdin in the highlights this year, as he showed off his skating skills in an entertaining 2 on 1 assist in the KHL all star game.
That does it for the 2016 Jets draftees. This draft class was another case of the Jets having some success in the 1st round, followed by not so much after that. It’s still cool to see what the later round draft picks are up to nowadays, and you seem to see a mix of career paths from these players every draft year. Stay tuned for the 2024 NHL entry draft coverage for the Winnipeg Jets, coming up on June 28th + 29th.

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