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Photo Credit: WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jets Must Resist Temptation With Jack Roslovic

With Jack Roslovic tearing the AHL apart and sitting second in league scoring, it must surely be tempting for the Jets to recall him at the earliest possible opportunity. The Jets, however, are a patient team with their prospects.

That patience will have to carry over to Roslovic, who is lighting up the AHL and making his case for a recall stronger every day. Right now, what the Jets need to ask themselves is: does bringing Roslovic up to the NHL do him more harm than good?

Right now, his time with the Manitoba Moose appears to be doing Roslovic a world of good. Yet with the success of Kyle Connor and with Roslovic’s own potential, the Jets may be thinking of injecting some more youth into the lineup.

While I have no doubt Roslovic would be an improvement over several forwards the Jets have right now, there are a few caveats here. One, Roslovic is still at the point where time in the AHL isn’t hurting him. There’s no need to rush him.

Two, Roslovic is playing top-line minutes and all situations with the Moose right now. He’s on the power play, penalty kill, and getting plenty of looks at even strength. Would he get those same opportunities on the Jets right now? One doubts it.

Connor, Roslovic’s old running mate with the Moose, has thrived since coming to the Jets, but that’s because the Jets have put him in a position to thrive. The lowest he’s been on the depth chart since joining the Jets has been the second line, and he’s spent most of his time with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, a line he has seemingly completed.

Roslovic shouldn’t be recalled until the Jets can give him a similar opportunity rather than playing him on the fourth line. Granted, the Jets fourth line at the moment looks pretty impressive, but you’d like to see Roslovic get a real chance given his play in the AHL.

Connor has had top-line minutes, power play time, and is getting increased responsibility throughout the game. He’s earned all of it of course, but until Roslovic can get something similar, there’s no need to bring him up.

Roslovic Elevates the Moose

It’s no coincidence that with Roslovic playing his best hockey as a pro, the Manitoba Moose are the best they’ve been since their return to Winnipeg. They sit first in the AHL’s Central Division and, much like their parent club, are rolling right along.

So another question worth asking: is it worth stripping your farm club of their leading scorer and driving force so he can play bottom-six minutes or sit in the press box in the NHL?

I fully recognize that the farm club exists for the benefit of the parent club and not the other way around, but given how many young players the Jets are developing down in the AHL, and given how many of them are having great seasons (Mason Appleton and Sami Niku spring to mind) isn’t it better to have them winning together?

Because Roslovic’s play in Manitoba hasn’t just been good for him. There are plenty of causes for the Moose’s turnaround this season (I could devote an entirely separate article to those) but Roslovic’s play has been a huge part of it.

Look at the Moose’s stats right now and you’ll notice something. The veterans the Moose added in the offseason are doing a great job, but so are youngsters like Niku, Appleton, and Brendan Lemieux. Driving it all is Roslovic, who leads the team in scoring by a wide margin and helps take the heat off the other players.

I admit the prospect of a fourth line of Roslovic, Mathieu Perreault, and Joel Armia is a tantalizing one. It would be more of a third line, really, and exactly the kind of bottom-six scoring line Jets fans wanted to see at the start of the year. It’s not quite time for that, however.

Let Roslovic mature just a little bit more with the Manitoba Moose. You won’t have to be patient for too much longer, Jets fans, but that little bit of extra patience will pay off.

For now, just enjoy watching Roslovic’s development curve, and hope that when the Jets do call him up (because it’s coming) that they put him in a position to succeed as they did with Connor.

Oh, and that Evander Kane trade looks pretty good right about now, doesn’t it?