The Winnipeg Jets will do what so many other teams have done this summer and find a place to play for one of their top prospects. Ville Heinola has been loaned to Rauman Lukko of Finland’s Liiga, with the understanding that he will return to North America when the 2020-21 season begins. Heinola played most of the 2019-20 season with the Finnish club and will get a chance to start his season a little bit earlier than his North American counterparts.
Selected 20th overall in 2019, Heinola made an immediate impact at Jets camp and after several injuries (and disappearances) hit the blue line, he was forced into NHL game action as a teenager. The young puck-mover acquitted himself quite well, recording five points in eight games before going back to the minor leagues and then overseas. It’s unlikely that he can keep up that kind of scoring pace through his first full NHL season, but the Jets believe they’ve found a legitimate top-four option that just needs a little more polish.
By heading to Finland again, he’ll end up at NHL training camp with his legs under him and able to hit the ground running. If that ends up in a roster spot isn’t guaranteed since Heinola’s entry-level contract is eligible to slide again next season, but it certainly could as the Jets try to rebuild their club for another postseason run.