The Moose have signed goaltender Jussi Olkinuora, and defencemen Aaron Harstad, Brennan Serville and Peter Stoykewych to AHL contracts.
— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsahl) July 1, 2015
The Winnipeg Jets add some depth to their organization, signing four players formerly protected by the NHL team to AHL contracts.
This adds some organizational depth, but also gives the Jets organization some extra time to look at players close and personal before deciding on whether or not they have a NHL future.
Jussi Olkinuora was signed to an Entry Level Contract by the Jets as a free-agent leaving the NCAA after two consecutive seasons posting above 0.920 save percentage. He struggled in both the AHL and the ECHL in his first pro-season. Olkinuora did turn his game around and played well last year in the ECHL, although still struggled when he was in the AHL.
It is likely that Olkinuora plays the minimal role of backup role for the Manitoba Moose, with Connor Hellebuyck being a workhorse like the previous season. This allows Eric Comrie to play in the ECHL and get the games he will need to develop his pro-game.
Aaron Harstad was a late draft pick by the Winnipeg Jets. He scored 30 points while playing 127 games in the NCAA. Harstad is definitely a long shot to make the NHL; PCS suggests less than one percent of statistically similar players to Harstad last season make the NHL for more than 200 games.
Brennan Serville was another player from the Jets 2011 draft. Serville scored 21 points while playing 129 games in the NCAA, being teammates with Jets prospects Jacob Trouba and Adam Copp in Michigan. PCS suggests that 2.6 percent of comparable players to Serville’s past season make the NHL for more than 200 games.
Peter Stoykewych was the very last draft selection made by the Atlanta Thrashers. The Winnipeg born player scored 34 points in 139 NCAA games. Stoykewych analytically looks a bit better than his Colorado College teammate Harstad, with PCS suggesting he has a 2.5 percent chance of making the NHL for more than 200 games.
The four are still NHL free agents, meaning any NHL team could sign them to a contract, although it is far, far, far more likely these guys take time in the ECHL than any team signing them to an contract.