News has broken out that the Winnipeg Jets will have two invites to their NHL camp this fall.
Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald wrote a piece about David Leggio entering this season without a NHL or AHL contract, but had been signed to a Professional Try Out contract with the Winnipeg Jets for their training camp.
The Kurier also posted an article from the Affiliated Press on Thomas Raffl planning to tryout for the Jets at their training camp as well (article is in German).
Let’s take a look at what these two may potentially offer the Jets.
David Leggio is a 31-year-old veteran of the AHL with 243 games played. He has carried a 0.911 save percentage over the past three seasons where the league save percentage sits around 0.912.
Essentially, Leggio is a proven league average AHL goaltender to provide some competition in camp and some extra depth if needed.
If Jets head coach Paul Maurice is to be trusted in his interviews, the Jets will start next season with the status quo of last year. Ondrej Pavelec will be the Jets starter, with Michael Hutchinson looking to take over if Pavelec slips. Rookie sensation Connor Hellebuyck carried an intense workload while registering a 0.921 save percentage last season with the St. John’s IceCaps and will look to repeat.
So where does Leggio fit?
Eric Comrie is graduating to pro-level hockey and True North re-signed Jussi Olkinuora, albeit to an AHL only contract
Well, the Jets have their own ECHL affiliate instead of splitting one with the Los Angeles Kings this season. This gives the Jets more control over their prospects playing at that level.
Hellebuyck already has proven he can carry a substantial workload and perform well. This may cause the Jets to place Comrie in the ECHL where he can get his own workload and adjust to pro-level hockey.
If Olkinuora looks ill-suited to play the role of Manitoba Moose’s backup goaltender, the Jets sign Leggio who has already proven himself as a capable AHL netminder.
Also, if Hutchinson pushes Pavelec out of a job later in the season and Hellebuyck continues his climb to fame, there is always the far-off chance that Pavelec is moved out and the Moose needing a fulltime starter as well.
Leggio is also fairly famous for this incidence, which caused a rule change:
Thomas Raffl, brother of Phillidelpha Flyers Michael Raffl, is a 29-year-old, 6’4 winger from the Austria pro-leagues.
Raffl has been strong scorer for Austria’s pro-level, with 271 points in 407 games. Last season Raffl eclipsed a point per game pace for the first time in his career.
The winger has played both sides, although he shoots left. While he has the size, defensive responsibility, and upside to be a competent support scorer in a bottom-six role, there are concerns that he lacks the foot speed for his game to translate effectively to the NHL pace.
Raffl has never produced numbers to generate a significant tick in his Player Cohort Success percentage, although Austria isn’t a league with a bevy of players successfully moving to the NHL. Raffl’s brother Michael played in the Swedish Allsvenskan league after eclipsing a point per game pace in the Austria pro-league at 22 years-old, six years younger than Thomas.
His chances of making the Jets may be slim, but he adds to the competition between Matt Halischuk, Chris Thorburn, Matt Fraser, and Anthony Peluso for the fourth line wing if none of the Jets youth is ready for the role.
There’s not much on youtube for Thomas Raffl, but I was able to find a fight of his back from his WHL days with the Swift Current Broncos: