Standout rookie defenseman Ville Heinola has been assigned to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose by the Winnipeg Jets.
Heinola was drafted 20th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and has been a very pleasant surprise for the Jets who expected his development to take a season or two before he was ready to become a full-time NHL’er. As it turned out, Heinola impressed everyone during rookie camps and tournaments and did very well during the Jets pre-season in earning a roster spot to start the 2019-20 season.
In eight games, Heinola had a goal and four assists and played an average of 18:04. At multiple times he displayed a very calm play style that one wouldn’t have expected from an 18 year old rookie.
Heinola has seen press box duty the last two Jets games as the club hasn’t wanted to play him beyond the nine game threshold that would have triggered the first year of his Entry Level Contract. Ville playing in Manitoba does not affect that status.
As was pointed out by Ken Wiebe of The Athletic, this move to the Moose isn’t necessarily the end of the discussion about Ville as he could easily return to the Jets – he still has one game left to play without triggering that ELC – or he could even be sent back to Finland and have possible availability for Team Finland at the World Junior Tournament in late-December.
It’s not a permanent assignment and Heinola could still return to Finland at some point, but at least for now he’s going to #AHL to get a bunch of ice time and to continue his development. It will open up some PP time for him with #MBMoose Heinola could also rejoin Jets down road
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeAthletic) October 31, 2019
In the meantime, Ville will get plenty of playing time in the AHL and was also pointed out by Murat Ates of The Athletic, it also gets Heinola away from the mess that has been the Jets blueline.