Mason Appleton made the Winnipeg Jets two seasons ago after a solid rookie season in the AHL. While he has not had a break out season in the NHL like one would hope for, he has been able to carve out a niche for himself as a skilled player who is not playing on a traditional skilled line. Outside of picking up an injury in the playoff play-in, he has been solid for the Jets since he has joined the team.
This year he played 10 more NHL games than last season, but recorded two fewer points. He also played in the AHL for about half of last season compared to only four games this season. He has clearly shown himself to be able to score in the AHL and it will be interesting to see if he can contribute more offensively in the NHL although that is unlikely given his age.
Appleton is not a player who drives play, but he was also not that player last year. He improved incrementally since last season although his linemates are not the greatest players and Appleton is not actively hurting the Jets. How would he perform if he played with more skilled linemates for an extended period of time? That is an intriguing question for another day.
While Appleton does not hurt the Jets, he is not a player that they absolutely need on their team. When talking about players they organization can stand to lose, his name should be on that list. He is not someone they need going forward and if having him as part of a trade to improve the team is what is going to make the trade happen, the Jets should include him. He is 24 and in his prime. It’s not going to get much better than this and if a team sees him as a young player with potential, you can trade him to give him that opportunity.