Of all the players we have in our top ten list, Mason Appleton has the most NHL games played of anyone. He’s on the cusp of being a regular NHL’er – one could argue maybe even more so than Sami Niku or Kristian Vesalainen – and if not for a handful of trades at the deadline last year, would have finished the season on the ice for Winnipeg.
Expect Mason to be in the opening night lineup for the Jets. What he does with that opportunity – as long as he’s given a fair one – could be one of the more exciting things to watch early on in the season.
- Born: Jan 15, 1996 (Age 23)
- Birthplace: Green Bay, WI
- Position: Center / Right Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Frame: 6’2″ / 201 lbs
- Drafted: 2015 – 6th Round – 168 Overall
- Played Last Year: Winnipeg Jets (NHL) / Manitoba Moose (AHL)
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As for the fans, he views the Winnipeg community much like the one here with the Green Bay Packers and their faithful. The first-place Jets are their pride and joy.
“They are such great, loyal fans,” Appleton said. “Any time fans come up and interact with us, it’s just an opportunity to get to know them a little bit.”
Dream come true: Notre Dame’s Appleton enjoying life in the NHL – Green Bay Press Gazette (Jan 31, 2019)
“Every offseason is an opportunity to get better, take the next step and become a better player when you get back to camp,” he said. “Obviously, I’m excited to get back to camp, but there’s still a month left of work. These next 30 days are going to be important for me.”
Appleton Hopes To Become Permanant NHL Player – Press Times (Aug 12, 2019)
For the 3rd time ever, that’s another winner of $100 at #VoxintheBox! pic.twitter.com/78LkwYOqe2
— Rachel Ramsey (@RachelRamsey44) January 10, 2019
What We Said At The Time:
The 18-year-old Appleton put up forty points for the Tri-City Storm, good enough for sixth on his team in scoring. PCS suggests that players of Mason’s age and height who score around his rate in the USHL only make the NHL about 4.29 per cent of the time.
It’s difficult to get excited for the 38th best scorer for USHL players 18-years-of-age or younger.
Winnipeg Jets bid to accumulate all the USHL players; Draft Mason Appleton at 168th overall
What We Say Now:
Mason Appleton is a fantastic skater and is good with the puck and overall a very gifted offensive player as has been demonstrated in his time with the AHL Moose where he won the 2018 AHL Rookie Of The Year award and followed that up with a very strong start to the 2018-19 AHL season that led to the Winnipeg Jets calling him up in mid-December and even though he had missed a chunk of time in the AHL he was still named to the AHL All-Star game in Janurary.
Mason did take some time to adjust to the speed of NHL play but it was obvious his comfort level was rising as he picked up a point in 6 of 11 games played through late Janurary and into early February even though he was typically averaging under ten minutes of ice time per game. Mason was squeezed out of the lineup once the Jets hit the trade deadline and players like Par Lindholm and Matt Hendricks were brought in to add to the team’s depth.
Appleton likely won’t be in the top six forward group for the Jets this coming season, but it would be surprising to not see him in the lineup at all as a roster spot with Winnipeg is his to lose at this point going into the 2019 training camp. Even though Paul Maurice likes to use his bottom two lines in more of a defensive / checking role, Mason’s offensive ability can help balance that out and with the right type of deployment and forwards with him, a line that has Appleton on it could prove to be a great secondary scoring threat.