Jets sign first-rounder Heinola for 3 years

The Winnipeg Jets have locked up their first-round pick from this summer’s NHL draft.

Defenceman Ville Heinola, 18, signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Monday that will pay $1,137,500 per season in the NHL. That includes a base salary of $832,500, a $92,500 signing bonus and a $212,000 performance bonus.

Winnipeg selected the Finnish blue-liner with the 20th-overall pick last month in Vancouver. The Jets originally traded the pick to the New York Rangers last February, along with winger Brendan Lemieux, in exchange for centre Kevin Hayes. The Jets then re-acquired the pick in June as part of the Jacob Trouba deal that also brought defenceman Neal Pionk to Winnipeg.

Heinola had two goals and 12 assists in 34 games in the Liiga — also known as the the Finnish Elite League — last season, and one goal and eight assists with the country’s U-18 team. He also played on the world junior team that won the gold medal, with a goal and assist in five games.

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The Winnipeg Jets have locked up their first-round pick from this summer’s NHL draft.

Defenceman Ville Heinola, 18, signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Monday that will pay $1,137,500 per season in the NHL. That includes a base salary of $832,500, a $92,500 signing bonus and a $212,000 performance bonus.

Winnipeg selected the Finnish blue-liner with the 20th-overall pick last month in Vancouver. The Jets originally traded the pick to the New York Rangers last February, along with winger Brendan Lemieux, in exchange for centre Kevin Hayes. The Jets then re-acquired the pick in June as part of the Jacob Trouba deal that also brought defenceman Neal Pionk to Winnipeg.

Heinola had two goals and 12 assists in 34 games in the Liiga — also known as the the Finnish Elite League — last season, and one goal and eight assists with the country’s U-18 team. He also played on the world junior team that won the gold medal, with a goal and assist in five games.

The 5-10, 176-pounder is expected to play at least one more season in Finland before turning pro and coming to North America. He is described by scouts as a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman.

“Really skilled. Really smart. We think skill and hockey sense are his best assets. Ran the power play for the under-20 team there. Was a regular in the Finnish Elite League. Just drawn to his skill and hockey sense,” director of amateur scouting Mark Hillier told the Free Press at the draft.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
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Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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