Dylan DeMelo? More like Dylan DeThroned! Am I right everyone? Someone high five me! Young upstart defenseman Ville Heinola is your new champ as he took out DeMelo in a pretty close victory.
Heinola will now move on and face another Jets prospect in Jansen Harkins, who surprised a lot of people with how well he played once called up from the Manitoba Moose.
Ville Heinola’s gantlet path…
This vote could be a little closer…
Which #NHLJets defenseman is going to move on in our Gauntlet Series? Pick your favorite between:
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 12, 2020
It was a pretty tight battle but Heinola won out. Heinola was the Jets first round draft pick, 20th overall in the 2019 Entry Draft. You likely remember that pick as the one the Jets traded away to the New York Rangers to get Kevin Hayes in a deadline deal to get a second line center (again), but then got back from the Rangers along with Neal Pionk in the Jacob Trouba deal.
While you couldn’t find too many fans of the trade at the time, Pionk impressed all season and Heinola made a strong case for staying on the team for the full season after a great camp and then posting one goal and four assists in eight games played with the Jets.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) October 8, 2019
While the temptation was there for the Jets to keep him on the roster – especially with how much help the defense needed early in the season – it was decided that letting him develop at a lower level was best for then 18 year old. He played for his native Finland at the World Junior tournament and then remained in Europe where he resumed play with Lukko in the Finnish Liiga.
#19 – Jansen Harkins
Moose coach Pascal Vincent summed up Jansen’s 2019-20 season quite nicely a couple of days ago after the AHL season had been officially canceled:
“The Jansen Harkins story is quite amazing,” Vincent said. “For him to keep improving to a point where he was one of the top scorers in the league, his ability to adjust and improve and stick to the plan, and stay patient… it’s a story that doesn’t happen very often. We were lucky to see it unfold in front of us.”
It may have taken three seasons with the Moose for Harkins to develop his game, but it looks like it may have been worth the wait as Jansen has a breakout season with the Moose, scoring seven goals and 24 assists in 31 games with the Moose before being called up to the Jets where he played very well and picked up two goals and five assists in 29 games played. He found a great fit playing on a line with Jack Roslovic and Andrew Copp and for a couple of games was even used on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.
Just like Ville, Jansen also had an impressive first career NHL goal.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) February 7, 2020
Ville Heinola wins and moves on. He'll take on Jansen Harkins in the next round of our #NHLJets Fan Favorite Gauntlet Series.
Which player is your favorite between:
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) May 13, 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