At this upcoming seasons training camp, if the Winnipeg Jets cut Anthony Peluso and or Chris Thorburn, would there be a collective social media outburst from Jets faithful? No.
If the two forwards or even one for that matter make their way on to the teams fourth line, expect to hear a big fuss about it. A big deal should be made if one of the two occupies a spot in the teams bottom six, it doesn’t make any sense.
With the large amount of young skilled players knocking on the door for spots, the days of giving plugs like Chris Thorburn and Anthony Peluso spots should be long gone.
The loyalty that the Jets have provided to the two grinders has always been puzzling. Thorburn has long been a below average fourth liner and has become even less needed as his style of play has become a dying breed in today’s NHL.
Thorburn is in his final year of a 3 year 3.6 million dollar contract and while that isn’t overly pricey in today’s NHL the fact the Jets made a three year commitment to someone like Thorburn to begin with is odd.
The same goes for Peluso, who is in the final year of his 2 year 1.35 million dollar contract. When Peluso was claimed off waivers by the Jets in 2013, people were raving about his fighting ability. Somehow Peluso has stuck around three seasons with the Jets, what has he brought them? While he has proven himself as a heavyweight fighter, he’s also shown to be a disaster in his own zone and the coach only willing to use him a sparring 3-to-4 minutes a night.
Fighting is down drastically in the NHL. This past season, there were 0.28 fights per game, that was the first time the fighting average was below 0.30 in 48 years. If the teams’ star player gets hit from behind or is on the receiving end of a cheap shot, the league will be the one handing down the stiff penalties, not the enforcers.
Fisticuffs aren’t needed anymore because the league is protecting their own players better and harsher than ever before; teams do not need to pay players a veterans minimum and take up a roster spot for vigilantism.
The fact each have stuck around for so long is really confusing. What’s even more confusing is that there weren’t reinforcements brought in to bolster the teams fourth line over all these years. How hard could it be to find cheap affordable scoring to give the bottom 6 a facelift?
It took the Jets too long and Winnipeg continued to throw Thorburn and Peluso on the fourth line and make Winnipeg’s fourth line virtually unplayable and unreliable. The Jets became a three line team and in today’s NHL and in any day NHL you need your fourth line to be in more than 3-4 minutes a night.
Newly signed Quinton Howden is a much more skilled and modern day NHL fourth liner and he shouldn’t take a backseat and sit in the press box to make way for either of the two. Marko Dano, Joel Armia, and Andrew Copp have all been more effective players with far greater upside.
Having one enforcer these days is a little odd, but having two? Ridiculous. Yes, Thorburn is used for other things, but without any positive impact. The only enforcing the Jets need is having Dustin Byfuglien laying an electric hit or getting chippy between the whistles (while maintaining composure), that makes an impact and it happens every game and every shift.
No excuses can be made now, the Jets need to cut the cord with the two and say goodbye to the days of Chris Thorburn playing 82 games a year and with Anthony Peluso being on an NHL roster.
With all the depth the Jets have entering next season, the two shouldn’t even be in the press box, they should be with the Manitoba Moose. The two would provide a solid veteran precense to a Moose team that looks to be very young and inexperienced. If Thorburn was assigned to the Moose, don’t be surprised if the letter ‘C’ is stitched on to his chest. Thorburn has a reputation as a leader and a strong voice in the locker room and having him and Peluso to show the younger guys the way could go a long way for the Jets.
The Jets have made far too long commitments to the two and even though each only have a year remaining on their deal, it’s time to take them out of the fold. Having a fourth line that you can trust and that can play up to ten minutes a night makes a difference and can help take pressure of the teams top three lines. Thorburn and Peluso have both showed they can’t make the teams fourth line useful. It’s been time to move on for a while now and even more so heading in to next season,
Cut the cord.