Today’s Pilot’s Logbook will examine the season, albeit short, that Nic Petan had for the Jets. Although Petan made the team out of training camp, he got sent down after not recording a point in only six games. He resurfaced in the month of February but couldn’t gain any traction and finished the rest of the year with the Manitoba Moose.
#19 – CENTRE
5’9″ / 179 lbs / Age: 23
Current Contract Status: RFA
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Petan’s season can best be described as short. He only played in 15 games all year and recorded a mere two goals. Petan set new career lows in assists, points, games played, and time on ice as he was consistently playing on the fourth line and found it tough to create any chances.
The case can definitely be made that Petan was not given fair opportunity. While Kyle Connor was able to jump into the lineup and play with two superstars in Wheeler and Scheifele, Petan was stuck in a different situation. Petan’s most frequent line was with Armia and Hendricks, while his second most frequent combo was not any more inspiring in Lowry and Matthias.
Petan initially made the team out of training camp but didn’t register a point in six games and was sent down to the Moose. When injuries took their toll later in the season Petan was brought up again for nine games in February. This time around Petan was able to find the scoresheet as he recorded two goals in those nine games. Unfortunately, when the healthy bodies started returning it meant Petan was sent back down once again.
As an AHL player, Petan has had quite a bit of success. This past season he averaged a point per game and was fourth on the team in scoring despite only playing 52 games. The offensive production was there, but so were the high end linemates and offensive deployment.
After taking a big step forward in 2016-17 by playing 54 games and scoring 13 points on the big club, it seemed as though Petan was poised for an even better run in 2017-18. This wasn’t the case as he spent the least amount of time in the NHL since he played his first games in 2015-16.
So why does Petan not get fair opportunity? It could be argued that his defensive game needs work. He has never been a defensive minded player, which is essential when playing in a bottom six role. Maybe it’s his size holding him back. While this would have been a bigger hurdle 20 years ago, the fact remains that Petan is not a big man, especially in regards to NHL players. The line combination is a coaching decision so maybe Maurice doesn’t like his effort in practice. Whatever the case may be, Petan has not earned the trust of the coaching staff and is starting to question his role in the organization.
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 11, 2018
The worst part about the whole situation is that it has been going on for years now. Just search #freepetan on Twitter and look back at the history, or check out last year’s Pilot’s Logbook for a similar conclusion.
The start of 2017-18 showed promise and there was hope for reconciliation. This clearly didn’t happen and it’s frustrating for the fans, the agent, and the player. Hopefully the Jets figure out what to do with Petan or else the Jets might miss out on an extremely skilled player down the road.
Petan didn’t play in the 2018 NHL Playoffs for the Winnipeg Jets
What does the future hold for Nic Petan? At this point, nobody seems to know. If the last two seasons are any indication, Petan could find himself in a very similar role. The Jets have so many prospects who are on the verge of NHL spots that nothing will be handed freely.
The spots are limited on the Jets and some of the other youngsters are looking to overtake Petan on the organizational depth chart. Roslovic is making strides and will most likely be a full time Jet next season. Lemieux played in a few games and could be on the verge of making the team in the next season or two. Don’t forget about Vesalainen either, who could push for a spot in the next couple years as well. Lastly, Appleton surprised almost everyone and led the Moose in points this season. Although he might not be ready for the NHL next year, he will most likely try and push to make the team two years down the road.
Petan is still an RFA so he doesn’t have much power in what happens. A trade might be in his best interest, but if the Jets choose not to deal him, there isn’t much Petan can do. The most likely scenario is that Petan will sign a one or two year deal and try to secure a spot on the Jets in September just like the last two seasons.