Winnipeg Jets pick Swedish defenceman in 2nd Round of NHL Draft

The Winnipeg Jets were spectators for Round One of the 2024 NHL Entry draft on Friday Night at the Sphere in Las Vegas after surrendering their 26th overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Sean Monahan.

But as Round Two began on Saturday morning, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and the scouting staff were able to actively participate, and with the 37th overall selection went for Swedish defenceman Alfons Freij.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound left shot blueliner had 14-19-33 in 40 games with Vaxjo Junior during the 2023-24 season.

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Some scouting reports have described Freij as “boom or bust” but McKeen’s Hockey described him as a diamond and “a dynamic, mobile, offensive puck-moving defenceman.”

The Jets obtained this pick, originally belonging to Montreal, from the Los Angeles Kings last June as part of the trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois. Winnipeg traded their own second-round pick to Nashville just before the deadline on Feb. 25, 2023, to acquire Nino Niederreiter from the Predators.

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Barring a trade on the draft floor in Vegas, Winnipeg will not have a pick in Round Three as that was the price paid to New Jersey for Tyler Toffoli this past spring.

The Jets will be in the rotation for Round Four (123rd), Round Five (155th) Round Six (187th) and Round Seven (219th).

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This year’s draft marks only the second time Winnipeg has not had a first-round pick since relocating from Atlanta in 2011. The Jets did not have a first-round selection in 2018 as a result of the Paul Statsny trade earlier that year with St. Louis and eventually took David Gustafsson with the 60th overall pick.

The Canadiens wound up dealing Winnipeg’s 2024 First Round pick to Los Angeles, along with the 57th selection in Round Two and the 198th in Round Seven, to move five spots up where they chose centre Michael Hage of the USHL’s Chicago Steel at #21.

With the 26th pick, the Kings went for Windsor Spitfires forward Liam Greentree.

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