We’re very sorry about the delay between parts 4 and 5 but we had some other stories break that needed our immediate attention and we didn’t want to take short cuts on looking into the prospects that are in the system for the Winnipeg team. So with out further ado here is the break down of the prospects currently in the system that are signed to a contract, have become restricted or unrestricted free agents or are drafted and unsigned but are worth mentioning at this time. We’re not going to go into too much depth with the players as lets be honest here we haven’t seen many of them play and until recently had no interest in them so basically we’ll say a few words about each player’s stats and our take on their potential. Over the course of this season we’ll have the opportunity to pay more attention to the whole organization not just the NHL team and bring you coverage of who is knocking on the door and who can we expect to be the stars of the future.
Players Under Contract
C Esposito, Angelo (.917M) RFA 12-13
While his AHL numbers have been unimpressive we’ve seen what he can do when he played for Canada in the World Juniors in a third/forth line role and while he’ll never live up to be the type of player his father will be he could grow into a nice energy player on the third/forth line in Winnipeg and really when you look at his skill set he could be the type of player Winnipeg fans grown to love for his heart and intensity on the ice. He’s still got some work to develop into a better pro player in the AHL first before he gets that shot.
LW Pettersson, Fredrik (.9M) RFA 12-13
The Swedish winger had a nice rookie season in the AHL and likely will get an increased role in St. John’s to see if he can develop into an NHL level player either as a scoring winger or a two-way player but his defensive game needs fine tuning as he was -14 last year in 67 games.
LW Klingberg, Carl (.870M) RFA in 14-15
Klingberg is more likely suited to a checking role in the NHL and that should serve Winnipeg well as it comes to wingers the top 4 are pretty much spoken for, for the near future. He plays the game physically and intense while not showing great scoring touch he can still be an effective role player in Winnipeg potentially as soon as this upcoming season.
RW Allu, Akin (.846M) RFA in 12-13
Akin has bounced around playing on three teams in five seasons in the AHL and hasn’t put up impressive numbers. He’s reaching a make or break point in his career and he’ll have to do something if he wants to have a shot of just playing in St.John’s next year.
C O’Dell, Eric (.786M) RFA in 13-14
He’s played the past four seasons with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL and is a two time OHL all-star. He’s got offensive skill but lacks an understanding of the two-way game so at least a couple of seasons developing in the AHL before O’Dell is ready for NHL action but he’s a solid prospect.
F Paquette, Danick (.685M) RFA in 13-14
Paquette played a full season in Gwinnett and put up less then impressive numbers in every category except PIM where he racked up 179 minutes in 59 games. He’s likely not good enough to make the NHL but could fill the role of tough guy in St.John’s if they require that type of player on the team.
LW Forney, Michael (.567M) RFA in 12-13
Forney has played the better part of the last two seasons with the Gwinette Gladiators of the ECHL and drastically improved his numbers last year so he should likely get a shot to play full time in the AHL next year and while the NHL is a stretch he could still develop into a useful role player if he works hard enough to get there.
D Postma, Paul (.875M) RFA in 12-13
Postma has the offensive skills that are NHL ready for a defenseman but he is still growing in his own end. The good news is that he went from a -4 to a +5 so with another full season in the AHL and he should be ready for he 2012-13 season to fight for a spot on the big club.
D Zubarev, Andrey (.825M) RFA in 12-13
Zubarev played in 4 games with the Thrashers last season and didn’t stand out. His numbers in Russia have been decent so it’ll be interested to see what Winnipeg does with him this year. My guess is a season in the AHL to become better accustomed to the North American game because their defence is where they are strongest and deepest on so there’s no need to rush him
D Redmond, Zach (.688M) RFA in 13-14
Redmond will be headed into his first full AHL season this year after four years at Ferris State where he was a first team all-star last year. He could be a mid-season call up if he has a good start in the AHL and his services become required in Winnipeg.
D Chiarot, Ben (.618M) RFA in 14-15
After a solid season in the OHL look for Chiarot to get his shot in the AHL next year to see if he will develop into more then just a prospect or not. He won’t be a top pair defender but he won’t be a plug either.
D Sol, Cody (.578M) RFA in 14-15
He’s got great size but needs to fill his frame this off season getting ready for a full season in the AHL. The last three full seasons in the OHL he’s been a solid defender who’s not afraid to get physical. Give this kid a year or two in the AHL to learn the man’s game and he could be a very solid and imposing force on the blue line for years to come.
G Pasquale, Edward (.713M) RFA in 13-14
In his first season in the AHL Pasquale likely did enough to get pushed into the starter role this upcoming season in St. John as he’ll have more upside then any other goalie in the organization. How he develops will likely determine how long Chris Mason stays in town as Pavlec’s back up. my guess is another two-three seasons. True North will look to do with him what they did with Cory Schneider and if they can get similar results they’ll have a very good 1-2 goalie combo in three years, likely the time frame True North expects to be solid Cup contenders.
G Carrozzi, Chris (.708M) RFA in 13-14
He got into one AHL game last year and let in 6 GAA on 27 shots and his 3.23 GAA in the ECHL over 47 GP isn’t great either so he’s more of a depth call up if goalies start getting hurt because he’s got a lot of work to do until he can become a dependable goalie in the AHL let along the NHL, but goalies often do take a while to develop so you never know what can happen.
G Mannino, Peter (.525M) UFA in 12-13
The started in Chicago he’s played well to keep his job until Pasquale came along. Look for Mannino to take over the back up role as the team will want to groom the younger Pasquale for the NHL as they’ll need someone in a couple of seasons after Mason moves on or retires. Unless he shines in his reduced role or there are injury problems in Winnipeg’s net early he likely won’t see any time in the NHL.
Restricted Free Agents
RW Machacek, Spencer (.859M)
Machacek might fight for a third/forth line spot on this team next year given the weakness on those two lines when it comes to any type of offensive upside with defensive responsibility as he has managed to develop his offensive skills over three AHL seasons while consistently being a plus player. If he doesn’t make the team out of camp look for him to be a call up at some point of the year.
C Holzapfel, Riley (.822M)
After three complete AHL seasons Holzapfel hasn’t put up great numbers but could be a usefull third/forth liner if given the opportunity to fill that role in the NHL. Given the lack of depth at Center he may get that chance at some point but he’s likely a few years away from regular duty in the NHL if he ever is.
F McKenzie, Ian (.508M)
A big bodied forward McKenzie has the size that would make scouts drool but he hasn’t done much with it at the ECHL level and has had a few cracks to make it at the AHL but hasn’t stuck. This year should be no different as he appears to have developed into a career minor-minor leaguer.
Kulda, Artus (.517M)
With three full seasons in the AHL under his belt and a season where he was an amazing +47 in 09-10 many expect Kulda to challenge for a spot on a strong defense corp in Winnipeg. He’s not an offensive star but could be a much cheaper option and just as defensively sound if not more so then a player like Hainsey or Odayu. When he gets his shot if he can play solid defense he will stick around with Winnipeg
D Festerling, Brett (.525M)
He played for Syracuse, Hamilton and eventually Chicago last year and over his four year AHL career has played on 7 different teams. Can you see where there might be a problem here? His numbers have never been great and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he gets traded away at some point this season.
Unrestricted Free Agents
C Krog, Jason (.55M)
A player who’s not a stranger to Winnipeg likely won’t see much of it this year or any year really. A career minor leaguer has really dropped off in production his last two seasons after a 30 goal campaign for the Manitoba Moose back in 08-09. He was also a -18 the first time he was a minus player in his career so his ability to fill a non-scoring role is unlikely and if he’s brought back it’ll be in a role to help develop the younger players and mentor them while putting up a few points along the way.
C Ross, Jared (.5M)
While still a useful player at the AHL level it’ll be interesting to see if his usefulness translates to another deal with this franchise to be a veteran presence in St. John’s or not. He’s a reliable two-way center that can score so he’s not a bad person to learn from so we’ll see.
D Welch, Noah (.525M)
If you haven’t got a shot with an NHL team after 6 AHL seasons you’ve likely become a career minor leaguer. Welch has been a solid AHL stay at home defenseman but his big league potential is not really there and if he’s brought back it’ll be to play in St. John’s.
D Sifers, Jamie (.525M)
See comments above for Welch and repeat except add undersized for a defensman and inconsistent. It appears Sifers has a good season followed by a disappointing one. The bad thing for fans in St. John’s if he’s brought back is that last year was an up season so he could be in for a stinker this year. As for the NHL, that’s just not gonna happen anytime soon.
C/LW Telegin, Ivan (Saginaw-OHL)
The Russian forward played in Saginaw the past couple seasons and was able to put up more then a point per game last year. Look for him to get an invite to camp but be returned to Saginaw for his final season of eligibility before a year or two in St.John’s. his offensive upside and size will be nice additions if he can transition to the pro game successfully.
D Melchiori, Julian (Kitchener-OHL)
His first year in the OHL was a successful one as he put up 19 points but most importantly a +24. Much like Telgin another year in juniors then a couple in the AHL should help him develop into a solid player in the NHL several years down the road.
And that’s it for prospects that we felt were worth mentioning for now. As we stated above we’ll pay a lot of attention to the younger players as they develop over the years so when they show up in Winnipeg you’ll already know who they are. We’d love to hear who you think will develop or flop with Winnipeg so please let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
Tomorrow we shall go over the management the Winnipeg organization has laid out and potential coaching candidates and who we feel will eventually be behind the bench come opening night with our final part of this 6 part series.