Winnipeg Jets hope to have found a diamond-in-the-rough in Mark Dekanich

By Chris Dubiel

The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms with goaltender Mark Dekanich on Friday. The 26-year-old was hoping to break into the NHL as a backup with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, but had an injury riddled season.

Dekanich had a pretty good 2011 training camp before a high ankle sprain derailed his Columbus debut. After rehabbing the ankle, he was all set to start an AHL game for the Springfield Falcons but pulled his groin, further setting him back. After he recovered from the groin injury, he re-injured his previously sprained right ankle and needed to go under the knife. Dekanich only appeared in five AHL games in 2011-12.

To say Mark Dekanich had a tough year would be an understatement, after the Jackets had hopes of him pushing Steve Mason for starting minutes, he couldn’t even stay healthy enough to complete his rehab starts. Even though it isn’t saying much when Columbus is relying on you, who knows what the opportunity to get big NHL minutes would have done for Dekanich’s career.

Dekanich underwent surgery in February so he should be all set for training camp in September, barring any setbacks. As of right now, he figures to compete with Eddie Pasquale for the number one job in St. John’s. However, if his ankle can hold up and he has a good enough camp, there’s no reason he can’t push Al Montoya for backup minutes at the NHL level.

For GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets, this could turn out to be a great low-risk signing. Although terms of Dekanich’s deal have yet to be disclosed, I can’t imagine him getting much more than the one-year, $575,000 contract the Jackets gave him about a year ago.

With today’s signing, the Jets have a potentially solid, young goaltending corps in Ondrej Pavelec, Montoya and now Dekanich.

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