Friday, 1 August 2014

A New Name In Town

There was a sense of apathy around these parts when it came to the work being done in the free agent market by the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets, though, signed Michael Frolik to a solid one-year contract before they reached arbitration, they brought back energy guy Matt Halischuk on a two-away deal, they hired Dr. Craig Slaunwhite as the Director of Fitness to shake up the "country club" mentality shown by some players, and they hired Matt Prefontaine as their new video coach. Things are happening, but the newest name came today thanks to breaking news by TSN's Gary Lawless.

The Jets inked a player who has yet to wear the Jets colours, meaning they dipped into the free agent pool! The Jets signed free agent TJ Galiardi, formerly of the Calgary Flames, to a one-year, two-way contract worth a reported $750,000. While this may not seem like a deal that should wow anyone, I actually like this move.

Let's be honest when we say that everyone is still waiting for Eric Tangradi to make an impact of any sort in the NHL. The Pittsburgh Penguins waived him, and the Jets, in need of a winger due to injuries, claimed him. Tangradi looked like he could be a decent addition to the Jets considering he was platooned beside some big names in Pittsburgh, but the winger has yet to score more than three goals in any season, and his six points last season were a career-high. Needless to say, Tangradi hasn't quite panned out just yet.

It was thought he could slot in alongside the playmaking Mathieu Perreault, but there might be some competition on the wings now. Galiardi comes in on a two-way deal, but you know the Jets will look long and hard at him thanks to his NHL experience. While his last two seasons didn't see him break ten goals or twenty points, his point totals are still much better than Tangradi's totals. That too will factor into Galiardi's status with the Jets this season.

With Frolik signed, the top-six forwards for the Jets are fairly set barring any major trades that happen before the season starts. Mathieu Perreault will center the third line, and it seems that Chris Thorburn will play some role on the team in the bottom-six forwards. With the other four spots on the Jets bein up for grabs, Galiardi might find himself in a productive role with the team if things click with Perreault. It could be a chance to revitalize his career which seemed stalled in San Jose and Calgary.

If things don't work out for Galiardi, he'll be counted on as a veteran player in St. John's where it would be expected he'd be one of the first players called up in case of injury. The Jets will give him a chance, and it will up to Galiardi to seize it.

Unfortunately for Jets fans and for NHL fans across the continent, Teemu Selanne is not returning to the Jets nor to the NHL. That boat has sailed, it seems, as the 44 year-old Selanne considers an offer from Jokerit in Finland for a season or two in the KHL. While it would be incredible to see the Finnish Flash play one more season, it's pretty obvious he's looking forward to greener pastures.

Hockey fans will get to honour one of hockey's greatest players, though, as the Anaheim Ducks will honour Teemu Selanne when the Winnipeg Jets visit on January 11, 2015. Personally, this is a classy move by the Ducks to honour Selanne after he was traded to the Ducks by the Winnipeg Jets on February 7, 1996. It's still one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history in my opinion.

In any case, the Ducks and Jets will most likely honour Teemu Selanne that night, so set your DVRs and TiVos because that's going to be a fantastic night in remembering one of hockey's greatest players and all-around greatest men.

Congratulations, Teemu Selanne, and enjoy the retirement if you choose not to play for Jokerit. If you do, enjoy your retirement from the NHL at least!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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