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Winnipeg Jets in Europe - September Recap

AIH looks back at the games played thus far in Europe and how members, and some former members, of the Winnipeg Jets have fared thus far in game action as the NHL continues to lockout the NHLPA back in North America

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images
Season Totals
Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG
Tim Stapleton Dinamo Minsk (KHL) 11 5 4 9 -1 4 29
Arturs Kulda Sibir Novosibirsk (KHL) 11 6 0 6 1 14 31
Nik Antropov Barys Astana (KHL) 4 1 2 3 -1 5 12
Alexei Ponikarovsky Donbass Donetsk (KHL) 4 1 0 1 1 0 5
Mark Flood Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) 10 0 0 0 -2 8 16
Brett Festerling Nürnberg Ice Tigers (DEL) 4 0 0 0 -1 4 10
Season Totals
Ondrej Pavelec Bílí Tygři Liberec 4 0 2 2 17 135 4.15 87.41

Heading into the month of October, we look back at how the Jets players are adapting to their new teams in Europe, and we can immediately see by the stat tables that some players have adapted quite well to playing overseas, while some players have struggled with their new teams.

  • Tim Stapleton has emerged as a bright spot in this whole situation. He signed on with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL on July 10, well before this whole lockout even began. So one could argue he's no longer a Jet. And they would be right. Because for some reason, despite a productive season in which he put up 27 points in 63 games, Steam Punk was not offered a contract by the Jets so he took his services elsewhere. He is now proving himself to be a talented player who can do more than play on the 4th line. He sits 18th in points as of the games of October 1, and has now been joined by NHL regulars Pekka Rinne and Evander Kane. Things are looking up in Belarus.
  • Arturs Kulda has cooled slightly, but still leads KHL defensemen with 6 goals in 11 games. Playing for Sibir Novosibirsk, he is proving that he is very much capable of contributing offensively, and fingers are crossed around these parts that he might be lured back to Winnipeg once this lockout ends. I personally have my doubts, as success, money and ice time could very well keep him in the KHL for the foreseeable future.
  • You can use a sun dial to time his blue line to blue line speed, but Nik Antropov is another Jet who appears to be adjusting nicely to playing in his home country of Kazakhstan, playing for the Barys Astana Leopards. He's managed to pick up 3 points in 4 games, and also managed to partake in a doozy of a fight.
  • Next we come to new addition Alexei Ponikarovsky, who is playing in his native Ukraine for HC Donbass Donetsk and has put up 1 goal in 4 games. Not terrific offensive production, and one might expect better from a 3 time 20 goal scorer, but the season is still young and one has to allow time for him to mesh with his new squad. Having a positive +/- does not surprise me, as he is noted for being rather defensively sound.
  • I'll roll Brett Festerling and Mark Flood into the same mold, because there isn't much to say. Both are former Jets defensemen who went over to Europe for more money and play time, but neither one has (or was expected to) lit up the lamp so far. Flood is playing for rebuilding squad Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, while Festerling suits up for the Thomas Sabo/Nürnberg Ice Tigers of the German DEL.
  • Last and least comes Ondrej Pavelec. I have no words to label what exactly is wrong with his play, as I haven't watched the games, and we all know that's the only way to judge talent. I'm sure Pavs is still making the occasional mind blowing save, but if you continuously allow 4 or more goals in a night you are not going to win a lot of games. Especially rocking a 87.41% save percentage. That's a number that can only be described as ugly, as certainly does not warrant a 3.9 million dollar a season 5 year deal. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and Head Coach Claude Noel surely have to be watching this situation with concern, as Pavelec was supposed to be the goalie of the present and future for the Winnipeg Jets organization.