When Nic Petan was scratched for Anthony Peluso against the St. Louis Blues, the move made no sense. When asked about it Paul Maurice snapped "I figured it would be a style of game like that." A style of game like what? A style of game that would involve power plays and needing four lines that can play hockey? Yes Petan is small and yes he is a fourth line player, but having Petan available on the bench is valuable to the Winnipeg Jets.
Petan is not your typical fourth line player. He is small, he is fearless, and he is skilled. The latter two counteract the former and Petan can prove to be of value to the Jets as a fourth line player alone. The Winnipeg Jets fourth line has typically been made up of useless players known more for their fighting ability than their hockey playing ability. This is in contrast to Petan who is not a fighter, but someone who was known for filling up the score sheet with points and penalty minutes because there was nothing in the world that he was afraid of in the WHL. While his fearlessness may not have fully transferred over into the NHL yet, he is still a skilled player who is a benefit to the Jets when he is on the ice.
While not a fighter, Petan's skill makes him more useful on the fourth line then one would suspect. He usually presents a mismatch of sorts for the opposition because he is not a typical fourth line player. He is not a player that "eats it" for the Jets; taking tough zone starts and thankless match-ups to a player who fights makes his own teammates lives harder. Instead Petan is in the middle: not yet ready for tough match-ups, but too good to make his own teammates jobs harder. Petan is not a normal fourth line player, but do not take abnormal for bad. In fact in these circumstances Petan not being normal is a huge advantage that should be exploited by the Jets more and not less.
You see not many teams boast a fourth line player who could move into the top six if injury hit mid-game without a drop-off in skill. There is also the ability to supplement Petan's even strength ice time with power play time, which the Jets are already doing. By having Petan play limited minutes at even strength and supplementing those minutes with power play time the Jets and Paul Maurice are protecting him if they think he is not entirely ready for full-time top six work. Petan is a better player than Peluso in the short and long term. Letting him struggle and fail in the NHL on the fourth line is fair. He is struggling a bit. He has only two shots in five games. Maybe he needs a bit of time to adjust to professional hockey in the AHL. If the Jets do not think that then it should become a club rule that he does not get scratched for a fourth line nothing because he is better then that.