Jets prospect Kristian Vesalainen (2017 1st round 24th overall) played five games with the Winnipeg Jets in his first pro season in North America earlier this season as well as eight games with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL before exercising a clause in his contract which allowed him to return to Finland to play with Jokerit in his hometown of Helsinki. In 31 games for Jokerit this season he had six goals and 11 assists in 31 games. Now that his team has been bounced from the KHL playoffs the winger is returning to North America to continue his season.
If Vesalainen plays more than nine games with the Jets this season, it would burn the first year of his contract. Playoff games count toward that total but AHL games to do not. In addition to not wanting to burn a year of his entry-level contract the Jets have to be cognizant of the NHL expansion draft for Seattle and this will ensure he is one less player they would have to protect. All of which is why the Jets have assigned him to the Manitoba Moose this morning.
Manitoba is set to play Texas tonight and Vesalainen will not play this evening but he could see some action when the team wraps up this six-game homestand against the San Diego Gulls on Sunday or Tuesday.
Update: I spoke to Moose head coach Pascal Vincent today following morning skate about the return of Vesalainen to his squad.
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