The Jets added another player to the potential roster yesterday with the re-signing of former Hab farmhand Ben Maxwell. Acquired by the organization in the Brent Sopel deal, Maxwell was a RFA until inking a one year, two way deal for 715,000.
The former second round pick has never really been able to get any traction in the NHL during his three pro seasons despite compiling 142 points in 179 AHL matches. His NHL line reads 32 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, -10, so he hasn`t exactly lit anyone one up during his cups of coffee with Montreal or Atlanta, and in all honesty he appears to be a player destined for 10th-14th forward status on a club that already seems to have about 6 or 7 of those types on the roster.
Winnipeg now has 13 forwards under contract as per CapGeek with Blake Wheeler still awaiting his arbitration hearing on August 3rd, so it’s possible that the club could go to camp more or less as is, but I suspect that the organization isn’t done quite yet with its summer tinkering, and if so, it’s almost certain that improving the forward depth will be on the agenda. With that in mind, Maxwell’s signing is, barring a major improvement on his part, as much an organizational depth move as anything else.
A one year deal seems about right for both sides, I’d say. The team is still in a state of flux, and the prospect pool is pretty shallow, so they do need bodies at all levels. From the player perspective, Maxwell needs to show more than what he’s displayed thus far if he has any thought of being a NHL regular, and given that the Jets still won’t be that deep up front in 11/12 even if they add a forward or two, he should get a clean shot in camp to win a full time job in the bigs. If Ben Maxwell wants to be a long term NHL player, he’ll never have a better window of opportunity than this fall to make it happen.