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Pilot's Logbook: Lee Stempniak

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Performance

Lee Stempniak was not a core piece of the Winnipeg Jets, but he was a vital late season addition. The team suffered a number of big injuries down the stretch a Stemp stepped up to help fill the void on many occasions. Lee recorded six goals in 17 games despite playing in a very limited, depth role.

His per minutes scoring rates were actually the best on the team and his possession numbers were solid. Stemp, along with Jiri Tlusty provided scoring ability from the bottom six that went well beyond what the team had for the rest of the season. Stempniak isn't an elite player, but his release makes for exciting moments and his scoring ability gave the Jets bottom six a weapon - when they'd often been a liability.

Lee Stempniak may be on the wrong side of 30 years old, but he has been an effective player for a number of years. He isn't elite, but he is smart and he produces. As you can see in the table, Stemp routinely puts up results that you'd expect from a second line forward. He did the same for the Jets. He was a valuable asset that could be plugged onto any line.

The Future

Lee Stempniak is an unrestricted free agent, thus he will have a big say in where he plays. That said, the Jets expressed interest in him a year ago and he considered signing. Given the role he played and the success he had as a Jet, there is reason to believe he'd consider a return and there is little reason to believe that the Jets would want him to walk. Stemp could be a valuable depth player for this team - even if he ends up on the 3rd or 4th line when things are all said and done. He could also be had at a very reasonable cost.

What did you think of Lee Stempniak this year?