Player Preview: Anthony Peluso

Brett MacLean, Ben Maxwell, Antti Miettinen, Grant Clitsome,
James Wright, Mike Santorelli, and Keaton Ellerby. Those are the names of players
Cheveldayoff has acquired via the waiver wire, and now we get to the one who
wasn’t on that list.

Anthony Peluso is the only forward still with the Jets that
was plucked off the waiver wire.

Known for his feistiness and ability to pound bodies into
the boards, it seemed like Peluso was ready for an NHL role, and even out
performed veteran Chris Thorburn (who received the controversial 3-year contract extension) at times since his waiver claim. Peluso is one of the last
remaining bench warmers in the NHL, averaging around five minutes a night, but
as of right now, he still has an NHL contract.

PERFORMANCE

Peluso extra skater

The Jets claimed Peluso off waivers from the St. Louis Blues
after training camp before the lockout shortened season. Peluso had spent the
lockout playing for the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria, scoring 5-6-11 in 36
games and proceeded to appear in five NHL games, adding two assists.

In the brief look he got, it was expected that Peluso would
be ready for full-time minutes in the NHL. At least Cheveldayoff thought so,
signing Peluso to a two-year contract.

The following season, Peluso played in 53 games, scoring two
goals and adding three assists while also dropping the gloves eight times with
a record of 5-3 according to HockeyFights.com

It’s expected that Peluso will make the big club again due
to his one-way contract, and the fact that he brings muscle to a team that lacks
that particular attribute. 

EXPECTATIONS

(Does anybody else just love that old man on the left’s reaction to this hit (next to Orpik’s head??? Just beautiful seeing a man who watched hockey when it was more about blood and sweat than pretty little dangles!)

For a guy that plays under five minutes a night, little to
no offense is expected, and players of Peluso’s role have seen their gifts
become more diminished. The hockey goon is not an imminent need anymore, so
Peluso will either have to learn to become a hockey player (like Shawn
Thornton) or become a better fighter (like Luke Gazdic) to stay in the NHL
after his contract is up.

Contract years bring out motivation in players, and Peluso
was given his chance, and extended by the current GM who seems to have tenure
in his job security. That bodes well for the player.

Don’t expect Peluso to reach double digits in points
however. If he can make a big hit here, win a big fight there, and chip in
five goals, Chevy will likely sign him to a four year extension….Am I right??

MAJOR QUESTIONS

(HEAVY VIOLENCE AND LANGUAGE IN THE ABOVE VIDEO)

1.    
Is the goon role gone from hockey?

This isn’t necessarily player related, but
it’s an answer that will determine if Peluso can be an NHLer. I may tackle this
issue in its own article entirely, but right now, it seems like the Peluso’s of
the world will be taking their talents elsewhere really soon. I hear Ben Eager is gonna be welcomed nicely in Russia!

2.    
Why was Peluso claimed in the first place?

The reason this article began with a list
of waiver claims is to show that Chevy seems to like taking chances. I can
understand looking at a guy like Brett MacLean who was a terrific scorer injunior and produced decent enough in the AHL to get a shot, but why a tough guy
who can’t score much in the minors? It’s obvious Cheveldayoff wanted some grit,
but I’m sure he could have forked over a 6th round pick to get a
Paul Bissonette or Brian McGrattan….

3.    
How did I manage this many words on Anthony
Peluso?

These player previews can be a bit of a
challenge when discussing players who don’t make many headlines. I’m really
enjoying learning the Jets players a little more, but you may be able to tell I’m
writing this on a Sunday night that saw my day get wasted taking care of a
week’s worth of daily tasks. I hate working 10-hour night shifts in my real job…But hey, if you guys keep reading I may finally get to move on….haha.