This piece of news does not come as much of a surprise, as Vesalainen has been anything but spectacular in his brief period of time with the Jets. Although collecting his first NHL point on an assist in his first NHL game in the 2018-19 regular season opener in St.Louis on October 4th, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound forward hasn’t seen much ice time in the four games following his debut, averaging just 6:50 per game.
The 19-year-old Helsinki, Finland product is expected to report to the Manitoba Moose, where he should see a significant increase in ice time and lots of game action as Manitoba is currently in the middle of a four-game homestand, with games on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon against the visiting San Antonio Rampage.
Vesalainen did make it clear prior to the season that if he were not playing with the Winnipeg Jets, he would exercise his right to travel back home to Finland and play in the local tier 1 mens league for Karpat. It is unclear if this demotion to the Moose is a short-term or long-term plan for the rookie winger. The AHL has been the number one developmental league for many current NHL pros.
Defenceman Sami Niku is currently with the Moose, after finding himself sent down following Jets training camp early this fall. Kyle Connor, Connor Hellebuyck and Jack Roslovic have each proven that some time in the minors does help with the overall development of one’s game. With Nic Petan now placed on Winnipeg’s active roster, and Marko Dano having been picked up on Waivers by the Colorado Avalanche, the Jets are now down to 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.