Welcome to the 3rd Annual Hockey Wilderness Top 25 Under 25. Over the next 5 weeks, we will be bringing you profiles of the Top-25 Minnesota Wild players under the age of 25, as voted on by the entire Hockey Wilderness staff. We conduct this series each year in an effort to connect you to the players in the Wild pipeline you might not have been exposed to yet and help you get to know the young talent in the organization. We’ll work backwards from 25 and reveal our next pick each day.
As in years past, there will be steady turnover in this year’s class. Though there will be many familiar names, the Wild have been able to acquire a few new impact players in a fairly successful offseason that will tip the scales. We also have another full season of data on the guys who made the list previously and we’re looking forward to opening the conversation on the prospect pipeline as we review the staff rankings. Will Matt Dumba retain his title? Did Brett Bulmer make the cut? Stay tuned, there will be intrigue along the way.
Pavel Jenys has a skill set that should be welcome at the NHL-level. Size, a great shot, and a willingness to battle all should be an asset to his game. Now, as Jenys will turn pro this coming season after struggling to produce with the Sudbury Wolves and the Niagara IceDogs.
The biggest knock on Jenys is his game-in, game-out consistency. He’s always had a tendency to drift in the effort department. He’s looked disinterested at times. For a prospect just turning pro this season, with a whole new coaching staff in Des Moines, he’ll have to earn his place and time on the ice.
Last season, Jenys struggled to get out of the gate with Sudbury. He totaled just 12 points (4g, 8a) in 24 games before going to Niagara where he potted 11 goals and 14 assists in 42 games. Hardly an improvement. Where we see his flashes, and maybe some hope is in the OHL playoffs. He had 17 points in 17 games played. That’s more of what we should expect from a player that has aspirations of moving up to the next level and is considered and older junior player.
The Wild noticed and signed him to a 3-year, $2.065 million entry-level deal this summer to officially make the jump to pro hockey. He turns pro as a number of other high profile Wild prospects are making the jump to the pros. This influx of talent should improve the quality of the Iowa squad. However, everyone will be on the same learning curve as Iowa has a new head coach. John Torchetti was elevated to the NHL Wild interim head coach after the Wild dismissed Mike Yeo in February. Torchetti, after not getting the Minnesota job, was hired on with the Red Wings as an NHL assistant coach.
Jenys was a 7th round pick (199th overall) in the 2014 Entry Draft. He’s one of a few 7th rounders this scouting regime has promoted through the ranks and Jenys tries to plot a path to the NHL some day. That influx of talent in Iowa that I spoke to above? Yeah, the Wild has conducted a few more drafts since Jenys was taken. His inconsistency has caused him to slip from 21 last year on this list to barely making the cut at 25. That’s even with guys like Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella graduating from this list this year.
The task for the new coach, Derek Lalonde will be to find a way to keep Jenys interested in the game. When he does, he uses his size for good and be a factor on breakouts. He was noticeable in July’s Prospect Development Camp.
Jenys seems beefier than I once thought. While he isn’t hulking by any means, he just appears to have a solid build to him. Throughout the evening, he was noticeable on zone breakouts by using his vision to make a pass out of the zone, or his skating to skate the puck up the ice. He used his body well in combination with a couple bursts of surprising speed to make a couple nice moves around defenders.
Jenys still has some growth to his game. He has those flashes of real brilliance, but it comes down to finding what makes him go and keeping him there.