The Olympic Break came at a very convenient time for Jets fans. Injured players Jim Slater and Evander Kane returned in the Jets win over the Coyotes and Matt Halischuk’s return to the team is expected very soon.
When Halischuk is activated off the IR, one of the Jets’ forwards will need to be sent down to the AHL.
Who will it be?
You could make a case that all of the Jets fourth line at times this season has shown that they might need a stint in the AHL. But, there will only be one player and I see there being three candidates – Eric Tangradi, James Wight and Anthony Peluso.
Since being acquired by Winnipeg, Tangradi has not found a successful way to stay in the lineup consistently. Tangradi is a big winger but an average skater at best.
In Pittsburgh he showed his ability to play in a more important role when he played with Evgeni Malkin on the second line for a little while. In Pittsburgh, his biggest strength was his big body standing in front of the net.
In Winnipeg, it just seems he can’t do anything right. One of the biggest things holding Tangradi back is his speed. He seems lost at times in the defensive zone without the puck and he often finds himself a step behind the play due to his poor foot speed.
He could very well be sent down to the minors, especially with Halischuk back.
This makes it even harder for Tangradi to find a spot in the lineup. This could be the best move for Tangradi and the Jets.
With Jim Slater back, Wright will now be back at his natural position as a winger. Wright is not an offensive gifted player, to say the least, but he does have speed.
Wright is a very fast player and hard working player who has shown this season he can play well on the Penalty Kill. But it’s hard to make a case for a guy to be in the lineup and in the NHL when he has played 58 games this season and has only two points, which is the same amount of points as Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
As I said, he works hard and has great speed and that could give him the upper hand over Peluso and Tangradi.
He also can play all three positions at forward so you can insert him in wherever it works.
Stats don’t mean everything in this case but Wright has a hard time scoring on an open net in games so it might be nice for him to take a little trip to St John’s.
One thing is certainly clear in my mind: if James Wright were to leave the Jets, I don’t have a feeling many teams would want him on their NHL teams.
Anthony Peluso is a strange case. He knows his role and performs quite well. But something people tend to forget about Peluso is the fact that he has some other tools in his toolbox.
During practices I have watched and during the limited minutes he gets in games I have noticed Peluso’s hands were not just made for fighting.
He has a powerful shot and can do some nice things with the puck. He brings good energy to the fourth line when he plays. He has the ability to provide some energy from his powerful hits or his fights that can set the pace of the game.
I sometimes wonder why Peluso is not in for Thorburn permantly. But I have come to understand Peluso isn’t as good defensivly as Thorburn. Despite that, Peluso is an underrated secret weapon for the Jets.
You put him in to the game and he can get the game exciting either by using his fists to get the game going, or his body.
I don’t see Peluso being the odd man out and being shipped down to St John’s; it wouldn’t be a smart move for the Jets.
Send down Tangradi.
This is a tough choice. But in a way it’s a choice based off default.
Wright has an upper hand because he can play any position at the forward spot can play PK, has speed and works very hard.
Peluso’s role requires him to stay in the NHL.
Tangradi has been invisible this year, on and off the ice. I practically forgot about him when he was sitting in the press box for long stretches of games. When he is playing he isn’t very noticeable in a positive way on either ends of the ice. But that being said the two spare players won’t play that much.
Peluso will swap with Thorburn every odd game but the two spare forwards will not draw in to the Jets newly healthy lineup barring injury.
This is a perfect time for the Jets to have a healthy core of forwards.
The Jets have two solid lines up front followed by the Jokinen, Setoguchi and Byfuglien line, which has been strong as of late. With the additions of Halischuk and Slater to the fourth line, things are starting to look nice for the Jets as they are in the middle of their playoff journey.
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