The Jets will be missing lots of their key players when their training camp opens up: Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Ondrej Pavelec, Connor Hellebuyck, Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine. With so many pieces away, the Jets should add some players on PTOs to create internal competition in camp and backup plan incase the Jets’ youth are not ready for a NHL spot.
Those seven players at the World Cup of Hockey are some pretty key components to the Jets, 2 of which are goalies.
These players are all secured spots when the season is underway and are all key components to the lineup. But back in Winnipeg as the Jets key pieces are fighting for a World Cup victory for their respective countries, preparations are underway for the upcoming 2016-2017 season.
The hottest competition will be taking place up front where a plethora of rookies look to crack the NHL lineup and either secure a top 9 spot or get as much ice time as they can get on the team’s fourth line.
While it’s unlikely much will change with the roster outlook while some of the Jets star forwards are gone, their are training camp battles to be had with lots of young rookies battling neck and neck for roster spots.
But during what may be some of these youngsters first training camps, there going to need more of a veteran presence their to compete with them and push them.
Signing a veteran forward to a PTO could really help the Jets at this years training camp. The player would have no guaranteed money to their name and would add another layer of competition at camp, which is something that the Jets youngsters will need to be challenged with. If the player impresses in camp, they could be signed to a two way deal and either serve as the team’s 13th forward or add some much needed experience in the AHL. The reality is, the bottom six forward veterans of Chris Thorburn and Anthony Peluso aren’t going to make the competition for a roster spot much of a challenge.
A viable tryout option up front could be Alex Tanguay. The 36 year old is still without work and could likely still hold down a third or fourth line spot in today’s NHL for some teams. His 1000+ games of NHL experience is quite the asset to have in a training camp that will be without all of the team’s new leadership group.
The thing is with Tanguay is when the Jets are fully equipped and when the World Cup concludes, there will be no spot for Tanguay on the NHL roster. If Tanguay has no interest in signing a 2 way deal then the Jets can say good riddance, and there will be no strings attached and what Tanguay brought to the table when the Jets were short a couple body’s will come free of charge.
Another name the Jets should try to bring in is Thomas Fleischmann. Fleischmann remains unsigned in early September which is surprising considering the 32 year old forward has produced in the mid 20 point range over the last couple of seasons. Fleischmann has lots of NHL experience and despite him being past his prime, could challenge younger players and ensure the Jets aren’t just handing spots to players without having them tested by NHL veterans.
There is little harm to signing a player to a PTO. The player could become a serviceable AHLer or just serve as a training camp body and a filler and then leave when the times right. While it’d be ideal for Winnipeg to find someone that would be willing to get back in action no matter what league, there might not be anyone out there that would be willing to sign a deal if it meant likely the entire year with the Moose.
While Tanguay or Fleischmann may have zero interest in coming to Winnipeg on a PTO, those are just some ideas of guys that can provide a veteran presence to the young training camp the Jets have in store for themselves.