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Winnipeg Jets Director of amateur scouting Mark Hillier reflects on the 2023 NHL Draft

Mark Hillier provides his thoughts on the 2023 draft class for Winnipeg

Jets Director of amateur scouting Mark Hillier spoke following the conclusion of the NHL Draft:

1) Thoughts on Colby Barlow
2) Trade chatter picking up around pick 18 (:52)
3) Thoughts on Zach Nehring (1:23)
4) What were conversations like with Zach Nehring (1:55)
5) Thoughts on Jacob Julien (2:21)
6) Thoughts on Thomas Milic (3:11)
7) Milic being the goalie for Seattle in playoffs (3:58)
8) Thoughts on Connor Levis (4:12)
9) Types of players drafted (CHL/Canadian) (5:01)

On Barlow:
“We were extremely happy to get him. He’s one of those guys we had quite a bit higher on our list and he fell to us and we jumped at the chance to get up and get him. He’s a real good two-way player. Really good hockey sense. Good grit and determination in his game. He gets to the hard areas, the greasy areas to score goals. Really good shot. Character kid.”

On not moving back:
“You don’t get have the chance to draft these type of players too often. We got a chance, I didn’t want to mess it up, let’s make the pick.”

On Nehring:
“Kind of a raw kid at this point but we see a lot of upside there. He’s got power forward tendencies, big kid (6’3)….really excited about his possibilities. We don’t hear enough kids that really want to come to Winnipeg and that was his genuine feeling. We were #1 on his list. His mom’s from Manitoba. His grandparents live in Manitoba. I think his dad’s from Minot, just over border.”

On Julien:
“Bit of a late bloomer. He’s an ‘04 born player. Started the year in junior B in London. After 20 games, in that range, he went up to London Knights….really think there’s good upside and possibility there”. Added that they are confident that under Mark and Dale Hunter in London he is “really going to develop there next year.”

On Milic:
“He’s just one of those kids I’ve got the feeling he’s just not going to be denied… he’s one of those kids that’s just had success after success. Won the World Junior. Almost won the Memorial Cup. His stats are off the charts”. He added that Milic will “turn pro right away.”

On Levis:
“Big kid, big winger. Like you said he had 27 goals and I think 40 assists, 67 points in 68 games. Played all the games. He’s a durable player. Skating probably has to come a little bit and it will as he gets stronger and develops”.