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Top 25 Under 25: #11 Nic Petan

As he nears a return to the NHL roster, Petan slots into the top dozen players under 25.

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Top 25 Under 25 -
#11 - Nic Petan
5’9” 179 lbs - Left Wing - Shoots Left
NHL 2017-2018 Season: 15 GP - 2G - 0A - 2PTS - 6PIM
NHL Career Stats: 95 GP - 5G - 16A - 21PTS - 28PIM
AHL 2017-2018 Season: 52 GP - 15G - 37A - 52PTS - 24PIM
AHL Career Stats: 108 GP - 28G - 61A - 89PTS - 54PIM

With the departures of Paul Stastny, Joel Armia and Matt Hendricks in the off-season, it appeared that a Winnipeg Jets roster spot was ripe for the taking for Nic Petan. The diminutive forward looked set to battle for playing time with depth players like Brandon Tanev, Marko Dano and newcomer Kristian Vesalainen.

But just days into camp, Petan’s father died suddenly, and Nic was granted a leave of absence on September 18, and has not yet re-joined the team, though he is skating on his own in Winnipeg. He is currently a non-roster player for the Jets.

Petan, 23, had a successful season in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose last year, while his time with the Jets was less productive. Petan appeared in 15 games for the Jets, averaging 8:25 of ice per night, and netting two goals. His career numbers in the NHL aren’t much better, with 21 points in 95 games as things just haven’t clicked for whatever reason.

With the Moose, Petan averaged a point per game, scoring 52 points (15+37) in 52 games, one of only eight players in the league who average at least a point per game while playing more than 40 games. That is impressive point production at the pro hockey level, and indicates he should be able to do more in the NHL. But will that be with the Winnipeg Jets?

Assuming he returns to the team soon, a roster adjustment would have to be made. There are two choices that immediately seem like the most logical, as Petan would have to go through waivers to get to the AHL, and he would get claimed. I give it a 99% chance it would happen. The Jets won’t want to lose an asset for free, so they’ll send down somebody who is waiver exempt.

Option 1: They send down Brendan Lemieux, who is waivers exempt and is languishing in the Jets press box, and a press box is no place for a 22-year-old.

Option 2: They send down Kristian Vesalainen, who is averaging 7:06 of ice time through his first three games in the NHL. The 19-year-old needs to play more.

Option 3: Petan gets waived. It is likely he will be allowed to be sent down for a conditioning stint with the Moose, but it’s possible the Jets choose to roll the dice on waivers. It’s highly unlikely, but it’s possible.

Petan has talent, and he needs to show the Jets brass that he can play in the NHL, or he might have to do that in other pastures. A change of scenery may be best for both organizations if things don’t sort themselves out this year.