Winnipeg Jets: Hard Work Finally Pays Off For Aaron Gagnon

Winnipeg Jets First Goal Aaron Gagnon

Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

It may have taken 31 games, but Winnipeg Jets center Aaron Gagnon finally scored his first NHL goal. Gagnon found the back of the net in Tuesday’s win over the Buffalo Sabres, and his goal came at a great time for a Jets team that is fighting for a playoff spot. His slap shot found its way past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, with Dustin Byfuglien got an assist. In a five-year professional career, Gagnong has spent most of his time in the AHL, but has appeared in at least one NHL game in each of the last four seasons (for the Jets and Dallas Stars).

Gagnon was a Phoenix Coyotes draft pick in 2004, and played five seasons in the WHL for the Seattle Thunderbirds before turning pro. He proved to be a capable scorer in the AHL for the Grand Rapids Griffins and Texas Stars, and earned his first call-up to Dallas during the 2009-10 season. He appeared in seven games for the Jets last season and was appearing in his third contest of the season on Tuesday. Before the Jets called him up, he had 11 goals and 24 points in 43 games for the St. John’s IceCaps.

The Jets sit just two points out of playoff contention, and are also only two points behind the Washington Capitals for the Southeast Division lead. They will face the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, and Gagnon should be in the lineup centering a fourth line that also features James Wright and Chris Thorburn. Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec reached the 6,000 career saves plateau in the win over the Sabres.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.

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