While some Winnipeg Jets players including Andrew Ladd and Olli Jokinen continue to work out locally, others have set their sights elsewhere as the NHL lockout continues. Whether it’s somewhere overseas or in the minor leagues, players continue to sign deals so they can stay sharp and continue to make money.
Earlier this week, Nik Antropov was the first to sign a deal outside of North America, agreeing to a contract with Barys Astana of the KHL. Astana is in Antropov’s home country of Kazakhstan.
Then on Friday, seven Winnipeg Jets signed AHL contracts that will be valid as long as the lockout continues. Spencer Machacek, Aaron Gagnon, Ben Maxwell, Maxime Macenauer, Paul Postma, Derek Meech and Mark Dekanich will all play for the St. John’s Ice Caps during the NHL work stoppage.
For some of these players, more time in the AHL may seem like a roadblock, as the likes of Machacek, Postma and Dekanich have already been toiling in the minors for a while and are poised to fight for full-time NHL jobs.
Obviously playing for the Jets isn’t an option at this point, as training camp would have started up this weekend but the players are locked out in all senses of the word. Even though these young players will have to wait a big longer until they get their shot, they at least get to play in competitive games, stay sharp and get more opportunities to improve. Oftentimes , it does a player better to get more ice time in “The A” than to be constantly bounced around between teams and different roles within those teams.
Wherever Jets players are skating, they and the fans all hope it will be at the MTS Centre soon. With players shifting their attentions elsewhere it isn’t a good sign that the end of the lockout is in sight.