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Where are they now? The 2012-2013 Jets

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Just who played for the Jets during their second season in Winnipeg and how did it change from their inaugural season?

Winnipeg Jets v New York Islanders
Former Jet Kyle Wellwood on the prowl

Compared to Year One when 38 players laced them up for the Jets, Winnipeg was down to 30 players in 2012-2013. While that may look like an improvement, one has to note this was a lockout year with only 48 games being played per team.

Nine players left the organization during or after the season. This article highlights who they are, how much (or little) they contributed in their time in Winnipeg, and where they are now.

I won’t be going super in depth about all the players, so I will mainly be talking about the five players who played the most games for the Jets in 2012-2013; starting with most and ending with the least.

Winnipeg Jets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sean Rudyk/Getty Images

#6 Ron Hainsey, D Born March 24, 1981

GP 47 G 0 A 13 P 13 PIM 10 -8

Hockey Related Ron never really got a lot of love in Winnipeg, despite being a decent shutdown defender. The hostility might have something to do with not scoring a goal in 101 games played for Winnipeg, but overall HRR provided solid, if not terrific, depth on the left side of defence. Because of his role in negotiating the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it seemed he HAD to test unrestricted free agency to show the power players could have. Spending three and a bit seasons in Carolina (and somehow managing to score there) Hainsey was traded to Pittsburgh in February for Danny Kristo and a 2nd round pick that became Jake Leschyshyn. Hainsey then helped the Penguins to their second Stanley Cup in as many seasons. Taking the UFA route once more, Hainsey signed with Toronto on July 1 for two years and $6 million.

#8 Alexander Burmistrov, C Born October 21, 1991

GP 44 G 4 A 6 P 10 PIM 14 0

The Enigmatic One: this will be the first appearance Burmi has in this series…but not the last! (Spoiler Alert: this cat came back).

Just 20 years old when the season began, Burmistrov showed a lot of potential, and defensive skill. However, at the end of his entry level contract he elected to return home to play two seasons for Kazan Ak-Bars in his hometown. Some fans were mad about this, but I for one totally understood how a young man would not pass up to play in front of his home city, family and friends. Putting up 63 points in 107 games over two seasons, Burmistrov returned to Winnipeg in 2015. What happened next? You’ll just have to wait until I write the 2016-2017 article. Or Google it. Whatever floats your boat.

#80 Nik Antropov, C Born February 18, 1980

GP 40 G 6 A 12 P 18 PIM 16 6

Scoring the first goal in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history will always make Nik Antropov memorable to fans here in Manitoba’s capital. But hauling that 6’6” 240 lb body around seemed to have caught up to Antropov by the time he was playing for Winnipeg, and the goal scoring touch (and foot-speed) began to taper off, to the point where he scored 6 goals in the lockout shortened season. Having played for Kazahkstan’s KHL representative during the lockout, Antropov returned to the Astana Barys team in the offseason of 2013. He played two more seasons there before calling it a career.

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Nik has since returned to Canada, and is now a full-time hockey dad for his son Danil Antropov, who scored 21 points in 60 games as a 16 year old with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL last season. Danil is 2019 NHL Entry Draft Eligible.

#13 Kyle Wellwood, C Born May 16, 1983

GP 39 G 6 A 9 P 15 PIM 2 0

During 2012-2013, Kyle Wellwood and Nik Antropov were reunited with former Maple Leafs teammate Alexei Ponikarovsky. The trio had previously former a line together in Toronto dubbed “Frodo and the Two Towers”. With Wellwood standing a generous 5’10, Ponikarovsky standing 6’4” and Antropov at 6’6”, the Lord of the Rings homage was apt, if short lived.

My first regular season game in attendance with the Jets 2.0 was October 17, 2011 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just eight seconds into that game, Wellwood scored. It was his first of 24 over the next two seasons (including the shortened 2012-2013 campaign).

Wellwood was not re-signed in the 2013 offseason, and found work with Zug EV of the Swiss-A League. Lasting nine games there, Wellwood retired, saying his heart was no longer in the game.

In February of 2017, Wellwood became one of the “angel investors” for an organization called HeadCheck Health, which runs an app aimed at helping assess potential concussions based on symptoms. Wellwood is now living in Vancouver with his wife and son.

#20 Antti Miettinen, LW Born July 3 1980

GP 22 G 3 A 2 P 5 PIM 2 -3

Mittens never found the scoring touch in Winnipeg that had made him successful in Minnesota with the Wild his three seasons prior to joining Winnipeg. Miettinen scored 8 goals in 67 games as a Jet, despite coming off of 15, 20 and 16 goal seasons in his previous three years with Minnesota.

Miettinen was one of the many waiver wire acquisitions that dotted General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s first years in charge of the Jets roster. A day after the Tampa Bay Lightning had signed the Finn to a contract, he was claimed by Winnipeg on re-entry waivers having never played a game for the Bolts.

After his contract expired in 2013, Miettinen played a year each in Switzerland, Germany and Finland before retiring. Miettinen now serves as an assistant coach with HPK in Finland, where he will keep an eye on 2017 Winnipeg Jets 1st round draft pick Kristian Vesalainen this upcoming season.

Gone but not forgotten:

Winnipeg Jets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sean Rudyk/Getty Images

#7 D Derek Meech, 16 games: thing never really worked out as a Jet for the Winnipegger. Meech split the next season between the KHL and AHL, spent another season in the AHL before playing his most recent season for Malmo in Sweden. While rehabbing an injury, Meech worked as the colour commentator for Manitoba Moose broadcasts in 2016-2017.

#23 LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, 12 games: Ponikarovsky spent just 12 games with the club before being dealt to the New Jersey Devils for a 7th round pick in the 2013 draft (Brenden Kichton) and 4th round pick in the 2014 draft (Nelson Nogier). Ponikarovsky will play with Kunlun Red Star in the KHL this season, his second with the club.

#15 C Mike Santorelli, 10 games: Santorelli played with 4 more NHL teams and one Swiss team before retiring last season. He has basically been of the public grid since October of 2016.

#21 F Aaron Gagnon, 10 games: Cousin Aaron lit the lamp a few times with the Jets in 2012-2013, but took his trade overseas the following season. He has since played for Swedish team HV71 Jonkoping, Finnish team Lukko Rauma, and most recently in Switzerland, where he now plays for the SCL Tigers aftr a stint with SC Bern.

Buffalo Sabres v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images