There were a total of 38 players to suit up and play in NHL regular season games for the Winnipeg Jets in their first season in Manitoba’s capital following the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers in the summer of 2011.
Of those 38, 12 either left the franchise during the season, or departed in the following off-season. This article highlights who they are, how much (or little) they contributed, and where they are now.
For the purposes of brevity, I will mainly be talking about the five players who played the most games for the Jets in 2011-2012, starting with most and ending with the least. But if any of the other seven are reading, you are all important in your own ways. Even you, Peter Mannino. You and your 20 minutes of gameplay.
#15 Tanner Glass, LW Born Nov 29 1983
GP 78 G 5 A 11 P 16 PIM 73 -12
Putting the G in the GST Line, Tanner Glass played the fourth most games out of anybody on the roster in 2011-2012. While fans loved the line of him, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn, the fact was that he wasn’t all that great at hockey. Despite this, he left as an unrestricted free agent by taking a pay raise to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1, 2012. He opened the lockout shortened season in Banská Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga, before two seasons with the Pens. Since the 2014-2015 season he has been a member of the New York Rangers organization. Despite playing in seven playoff games with the Rangers this spring, Glass will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
#14 Tim Stapleton, RW Born Jul 19 1982
GP 63 G 11 A 16 P 27 PIM 10 -2
Listed at a height of 5’9” that isn’t fooling anybody, Tim Stapleton was one of the more versatile depth forwards the Jets had during the 2011-2012 campaign. Able to play the three forward positions, power play and penalty kill, he was likable to wach. But it was 2011-2012, and we liked pretty much everything that year.
Stapleton has not played in North America since the 2011-2012 season. He played for Belarus’ KHL team, Dinamo Minsk, in 2012-2013. He split the next year between Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. He played in Switzlerland in 2015-16, first for EHC Biel then for HC Lugano. He split last season between Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey Leage and HC Spartak Moscow of the KHL. Stapleton agreed to a one-year contract with EHC Olten of the National League B in Switzerland for the 2017-18 season.
#27 Johnny Oduya, D Born Oct 1 1981
GP 63 G 2 A 11 P 13 PIM 10 -9
The Pizza Man, Johnny Oduya. Honestly, this might be the last time the Jets had depth at left hand defence. Oduya scored just twice as a Jet, but his January 7th overtime winner against Buffalo still sticks in my mind as one of the best memories of that first year of Jets 2.0. Oduya was traded at the deadline to Chicago for draft picks that became Jimmy Lodge, J.C. Lipon, Jan Kostalek and Tucker Poolman. Oduya stayed with Chicago until the end of the 2014-15 season, winning two Stanley Cups in the process. He then spent a season an a bit with Dallas before being dealt to Chicago again in another deadline deal for Mark McNeill and a 2018 4th round pick. Oduya will be a UFA on July 1.
#12 Randy Jones, D Born Jul 23 1981
GP 39 G 2 A 11 P 13 PIM 10 -9
Pop quiz! Your name’s Blake Wheeler, you’re the top point getter on your team and you’re on a 5-on-1 break against the Panthers. Who do you pass to?
Randy Jones, of course.
Randy Jones’ lone assist for the Jets came in memorable fashion on March 1, 2012 when he gave Wheeler’s pass back to the future captain, who then found Bryan Little for the goal.
Jones didn’t play in the NHL again after the season, playing a pair of campaigned in the AHL for Oklahoma City and Portland before hanging them up. Nowadays, Jones can be found as the head coach of the Midget AAA Saint John Vito's hockey club in his home province of New Brunswick.
#17 Eric Fehr, RW Born Sep 7 1985
GP 35 G 2 A 1 P 3 PIM 12 -6
Coming off three successive seasons in which he scored 10 or more goals for the Captials, Manitoba product Eric Fehr was expected to be given the chance to shine with the Jets and grow off of his 21 goal performance two seasons earlier. It seems Claude Noel had other ideas, with Fehr firmly entrenched in Chateau Bow Wow, or on the injured reserve for much of the season with a lingering shoulder injury. Fehr lit it up in Finalnd during the lockout, and earned a new contract with Washington, where he was able to find some of that old scoring touch. He joined the Penguins in 2015-16 and helped them win the Stanley Cup, appearing in 23 playoff games. Last season, still with the Penguins, Fehr was traded to Toronto with Steven Oleksy and a 2017 fourth round pick, in exchange for Frank Corrado. In his first and only game with the Leafs, Fehr broke his hand which ended his season. Fehr still has one year left on his contract, and will be fighting for a lineup spot in Toronto this fall.
Gone but not forgotten:
#36 D Mark Flood, 33 games: Flood, 32, played last year with EC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.
#50 G Chris Mason, 20 games: Mason, 41, played a few more years, finishing his career with Augsburg in Germany in 2015.
#23 LW Kenndal McArdle, 9 games: McArdle retired in 2014, and now works as an Investment Associate at PenderFund Capital Management in Vancouver.
#44 D Arturs Kulda, 9 games: Kulda, 28, recently signed for China’s KHL team, HC Kunlun Red Star.
#53 D Brett Festerling, 5 games: Festerling, 31, plays for Nuermberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers in Germany.
#25 LW Brett MacLean, 5 games: Now 28, MacLean was forced to retire in the 2012 offseason after suffering a cardiac emergency. According to the Toronto Star, MacLean “recently graduated from the University of Waterloo with a sports business degree and now works in Canadian Tire’s corporate office”.
#34 G Peter Mannino, 1 game: Mannino, 33, played 1 period for the Jets, saving 4 shots and “allowing” an empty net goal. Splitting the next few years between the ECHL and AHL, Omaha moved into coaching in 2015 and is now an assistant coach with the University of Omaha Mavericks of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Who was your favourite Jet to leave the team in 2011-2012? Let us know in the comments below.