Meet the Newest Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets have completed their 2023 NHL Entry Draft class, and they picked up quite a few good prospects. With five picks in seven rounds, Kevin Cheveldayoff did quite well for what he was limited to.

Colby Barlow – 18th Overall

A surprising pick in this draft class, winger Colby Barlow was drafted 18th overall by the Winnipeg Jets. The Orillia, Ontario, native won’t have any trouble getting used to the cold weather in Winnipeg. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Barlow has the size to make a tremendous impact on the Winnipeg Jets roster. Barlow also spent his 2022-23 season with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League, where he posted 46 goals and 33 assists for 79 points in 59 games. Barlow also played for Canada’s U18 squad in the World Junior Championship and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In the U18 WJC, Barlow scored three goals and four points in six games. Barlow’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup performance was a little more impressive, where he posted two goals and three assists for five points in five games. Barlow likes to score goals, and the Winnipeg Jets could use a goalscorer as of now, Barlow fits the bill, and that’s why he was drafted by the Jets. While the Jets would have loved to get Colby Barlow into the system as soon as possible, Colby Barlow is committed to the Owen Sound Attack for the 2023-24 season.

Zach Nehring – 82nd Overall

Zach Nehring is another goalscorer that the Winnipeg Jets drafted in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. However, the Jets didn’t have a second-round pick after trading their 2023 second on July 26th, 2021 for Brendan Dillon of the Washington Capitals. Washinton would then flip this pick two days later for goaltender Vitek Vanecek.

Though, the point of this is not to glorify the pick Winnipeg traded. Rather, we are looking at Zach Nehring, a solid player standing at 6-foot-3 and 182 pounds who has crafty hands and looks to battle hard for the puck. In Nehring’s 2022-23 season, he scored 39 goals and 46 assists for 85 points in 54 games for Shattuck St. Marys Midget Prep. With Shattuck St. Mary’s, Nehring would also play in the US 18U Nationals tournament where Shattuck St. Mary’s would win the tournament. Nehring contributed five goals and six assists for 11 points in their six-game Nationals tournament. Zach Nehring is committed to the Sioux Fall Stampedes of the USHL for the 2023-24 season and then Western Michigan University of the NCAA for the 2024-25 season.

Jacob Julien – 147th Overall

With the first of two fifth-round selections in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft for the Winnipeg Jets, they selected Jacob Julien, another big-bodied forward that likes to play rough. You can’t teach size, and Julien’s 6-foot-4 and 181-pound frame certainly put some eyes on him. Julien split his 2022-23 season between the London Knights (40 games) of the OHL and the London Nationals (22 games) of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. For the Nationals, Julien posted an impressive 19 goals and 22 assists for 42 total points. Julien earned his call-up to the OHL and posted nine goals and seven assists for 16 points. However, in 20 playoff games, Julien scored two goals and five assists for seven total points, this effort helped the London Knights make it to the OHL Playoff Finals, and Julien rose his draft stock off of this performance. Jacob Julien will remain with the London Knights for the 2023-24 season as he looks to continue his development.

Thomas Milic – 151st Overall

After two consecutive NHL Drafts where goaltender Thomas Milic didn’t hear his name get called, Thomas Milic was surprisingly available for a third NHL Entry Draft. Falling short in the 2021-22 season from an Ed Chynoweth Cup, Milic proved that with the right time and attention, development with a goaltender shouldn’t be an issue.

While Milic posted 27 wins, 16 loses, and 4 overtime losses, he still had three shutouts, a 2.44 goals-against average, and a 0.912 save percentage in 47 games last year. In the Seattle Thunderbirds 2022 postseason, he won 14 games and lost 11 games for 2.29 goals against average and a 0.925 save percentage in his 25 playoff games. Milic would bounce back in the 2022-23 season with a small chip on his shoulder due to not being drafted in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Throughout 58 combined games, playoffs, World Junior Championships, and the regular season, Thomas Milic only lost seven games. Milic’s wins (27), losses (3), and OTL (1) in the Seattle Thunderbirds regular season were impressive, with four shutouts, a 2.08 goals-against average, and a 0.928 save percentage, this season belonged to Thomas Milic.

The Seattle Thunderbirds would let Milic go and play for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship U20 tournament, where played in six games and won five. The one game he came into relieve Team Canada’s starting goaltender is not credited to Milic’s win-loss record. Milic posted a 1.76 goals-against average and a 0.932 save percentage for the remainder of the tournament and helped Canada win the gold medal this year.

When it came time for the Seattle Thunderbirds to enter the WHL’s post-season, Thomas Milic was more than ready to help the Thunderbirds win the Ed Chynoweth Cup. 16 wins and three losses in 19 games, 1.95 goals against average, and a 0.933 save percentage helped Seattle punch their ticket to the Memorial Cup. Milic would puck lock down the net helping Seattle win the 2023 Memorial Cup, and this incredible season full of multiple awards would help Thomas Milic fall into the lap of the Winnipeg Jets. Milic was awarded the CHL First All-Star Team nomination, the WHL Best GAA and Best Save Percentage, WHL Playoffs MVP, and finally, the WHL Top Goaltender (Del Wilson Trophy). While Milic is set to return to the Seattle Thunderbirds for the 2023-24 season, Kevin Cheveldayoff hopes this incredible late bloomer can transition his game to the NHL level.

Connor Levis – 210th Overall

The Winnipeg Jets went out and swung for the fences in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Connor Levis fit their need for physical and defensively sound forwards who can also score every now and then. Levis has spent three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, but it wasn’t until the 2022-23 season that he looked most impressive. Levis, who scored 27 goals and 40 assists for 67 points in 68 games, accumulated a plus/minus of plus 23 with the Blazers.

Levis looks best when he’s driving play and literally forcing his way through defenders, he has excellent puck protection and is an even better passer. His transitional game is what makes him stand out, and when a player tries to hit him off of the puck, it’s nearly impossible to strip Levis of the puck in a physical manner. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, Levis will fill into a great middle-six role for the Winnipeg Jets, given his development path continues and he continues to work on a more sound defensive game. Levis is committed to returning back to the Kamloops Blazers for the 2023-24 season.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Capitals vs Rangers

Capitals Head Back to DC in a Major Deficit

The first two games of the playoffs have been nothing short of disappointing for the Washington Capitals. With only four goals and 46 shots on goal in two games, the Capitals have not been performing at the level they need to be to win out over the New York Rangers. Notably, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin […]

Read More

Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings | Game 2, Round 1 Recap | 4/24/2024

On Wednesday night, the Edmonton Oilers hosted the LA Kings for Game 2 of Round 1 at Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. The teams began the game with the same line combinations from Game 1, with Stuart Skinner and Cam Talbot as the goaltenders. The LA Kings were expected to come out strong, as […]

Read More

Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights Game 2 Recap | 04/24/2024

The Dallas Stars pushed the restart button on Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights. But, despite getting the first lead of the game, the Stars ultimately dropped a 3-1 decision to the Golden Knights at the American Airlines Center. Dallas fell to 0-2, while Vegas improved to 2-0. The Stars’ starting lineup […]

Read More