The Manitoba Moose - Pre-Season Addition/Goalie Preview
Training camp for the Manitoba Moose has been underway for a while, but to date it has just included practices, scrimmages, and a game against the University of Manitoba Bisons. That is over, as the Moose will start off the AHL season with a game against the Toronto Marlies on Saturday afternoon.
Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to do a preview on the upcoming season.
Here are the players who will be attending Moose training camp (wtih the exceptions of Perfetti, who currently remains with the Jets & Samberg, who is still recovering from an injury):
Mikhail Berdin and Arvid Holm.
Ville Heinola, Dylan Samberg, Johnny Kovacevic, Leon Gawanke, Jimmy Oligny*, Hayden Shaw*, Nelson Nogier, Trent Bourque*, Simon Lundmark and Declan Chisholm.
Cole Perfetti, Haralds Egle*, Nicholas Jones*, Evan Polei*, Dominic Toninato, David Gustafsson, Kristian Reichel, Austin Poganski, Mikey Eyssimont, C.J. Suess, Luke Johnson, Isaac Johnson*, Jeff Malott, Cole Maier*, Greg Meireles*, Todd Burgess*, Bobby Lynch* and Thomas Caron*.
* - denotes a player either signed by the Manitoba Moose or on a PTO (i.e. no affiliation with the Winnipeg Jets)
On paper, Manitoba looks to have the potential to field a strong team this season, with a good mixture of young prospects and veteran players. Admittedly not knowing a ton of what other AHL teams will look like, I think the Moose will be a playoff team and even could make a run for the Calder Cup.
I'm guessing that eventually Perfetti gets sent down to the AHL and that the Jets recall Toninato. If that does occur, I expect that both Gustafsson & Perfetti will produce at or close to a point per game this year, which will help them solidify their position as everyday NHLers with the Jets next season. Heinola also has the potential to have an all-star season, quarterbacking what could be a very good powerplay unit and playing 1st pairing minutes.
Defensemen like Samberg, Kovacevic, Chisholm, & Gawanke will look to continue to hone their skills in the AHL, with the hope that they can get a good look at next year's Jets training camp.
Jeff Malott earned a 1 year contract with the Jets after playing well last season with Manitoba and will add to the offensive potential of the Moose's top 6. Other mainstays from last year include Egle, Jones, Reichel, & Suess, while newcomers like Poganski, Eyssimont, & Luke Johnson will help fill out the forward units.
Making their debuts in North America this season, a couple of Swedes (Arvid Holm & Simon Lundmark) will be looking to make a good first impression on the Moose's coaching staff. Lundmark joins a defense crowded with good Winnipeg Jets' prospects, while Holm looks to have the back up spot locked up (with only 2 goalies at camp).
To help to familiarize ourselves with the Manitoba Moose players who are under contract with the Winnipeg Jets, I thought I would do short bios on each of them, starting with the goalies.
CONTRACT: 2 yrs @ $845,833 AGE: 23 SIZE: 6'2"
After a very good season playing in the under 18 games with the Russian National team in 2015-16 (including 3 games at the World Juniors with a 0.80 GAA and a .968 save percentage), Berdin was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 6th round (157th) in 2016.
He spent the next two seasons playing with Sioux Falls in the USHL, playing 31 games in 2016-17 (2.73/.925) and 45 games in 2017-18 (2.65/.921).
In 2018-19, Berdin was assigned to the Jacksonville IceMen in the ECHL and got in 28 games (2.66/.912), before being called up to the Manitoba Moose (23 games w/ 2.34/.927).
Berdin started 42 games in 2019-20, posting a 2.89 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Last season saw Berdin play in 14 games with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL (2.50/.912) before the AHL season got underway. Berdin's 2020-21 season with the Moose saw him start the vast majority of the games, but resulted in a career-low save percentage (.897), while posting a 2.89 GAA.
After getting into one pre-season game with the Jets, Berdin will once again be the starter for Manitoba and will look to rebound from a bad season. With solid play, there is a chance to supplant Comrie as the Jets' backup, so there definitely is motivation.
CONTRACT: 2 yrs @ $750,000 AGE: 22 SIZE: 6'4"
Holm played with Karlskrona HK in the J20 Nationell in 2016-17, getting in 26 regular season games while posting a 2.91 GAA & .906 save percentage. He also posted a .955 save percentage in 2 playoff games.
As a result, the Winnipeg Jets drafted him in the 2017 NHL Draft with their 6th round selection (167th). Holm continued the following season in the J20 Nationell league, playing 39 games, with a 3.44 GAA & .888 save percentage.
In 2018-19, the Swedish goalie moved up to the men's team of Karlskrona HK in the HockeyAllsvenskan where he enjoyed a bounce-back season, posting a 2.58 GAA & .907 save percentage in 32 games.
Holm joined the SHL in 2019-20 when he signed with Farjestad BK, where he continued with strong play (31 games w/ 2.27 GAA & .915 save percentage). He stayed with Farjestad in 2020-21, seeing 24 games while posting 2.70 GAA & .914 save percentage.
Facing his 1st season of professional hockey in North America, the big-bodied goalie should be looking to have a strong year to try to move up the Jets' depth chart, which is questionable beyond Hellebuyck.
COMING SOON: DEFENSEMEN