What about Lee Stempniak?

Winnipeg Jets fans are wondering why no Lee Stempniak? – 

Winnipeg Jets fans were wondering “what about Lee Stempniak” after reports came out he wanted to remain a Winnipeg Jet.

Fan chatter didn’t take long to follow.  “Why wouldn’t they sign Stempniak?”  or  “They chose Matt Halischuk and Anthony Peluso over him?” are a few of the questions I have seen.

The Winnipeg Jets signed Anthony Peluso for two years with a $609,000 AAV per season.  I’m sure Anthony would rather be on the ice all the time but he has always been a good teammate, played his role when asked to, sit upstairs when required, and he does it.  From what we’ve seen he doesn’t act out, he just shows up to practice and keeps working.  There’s that and I still think he’s got some upside, but I may be biased  so we wont go into detail here.  To say he is taking away spots from anyone is a stretch at best.

Matt Halischuk also signed for little money and is on a two-way deal.  He has been serviceable and he always shows up and works hard, something valuable in training camp to push others bidding for a job.  With this contract Kevin Cheveldayoff has flexibility to send him down to the Manitoba Moose if he desires room for a younger prospect or any other addition he may make for that matter.  No harm in this signing.

Reports are that Kevin Cheveldayoff told Lee Stempniak’s agent he wanted to free up roster spots for young players if they are ready to move up.  Many speculate that Nikolaj Ehlers not being ineligible to play for the Manitoba Moose will take a spot with the possibility of Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, or Nic Petan also making a case for themselves, plus others.

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Personally, I liked Lee Stempniak, he played well for the Jets down the stretch and into he playoffs but if I’m being honest with myself, he isn’t irreplaceable, not to mention no one else has signed him yet.  No one knows what kind of dollars and term he is looking for and he could still become a Winnipeg Jet at any time until we hear otherwise.

Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t “choose” to sign Matt Halischuk and Anthony Peluso over Lee Stempniak, he just made a couple signings early to give the Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose some cushion while adding a little competition for camp.  We really don’t know what was said during any talks other than the report that Kevin Cheveldayoff was wanting to move forward.

Negotiation posturing?  Or truth?  Without being part of that conversation we don’t know what really happened.

I have a feeling our fourth line will be fine either way.

Go Jets Go!



  1. Mitch Kasprick says

    I like Lee Stempniak and I thought he was a no-brainer to bring back as a depth forward BUT what do I know? Halischuk and Fraser were a waste of ink IMO ….. they are AHL depth and that’s it!

    • Derek Curtis says

      I didnt mind Halischuk only because he has been here, I am assuming he will play for the Moose. Fraser was a surprise for me. Don’t think they need to spend the money there either.

      If Lee was only looking for a million or so I don’t see why they wouldn’t sign him? Maybe he’s looking for more term and Chevy isn’t prepared to give it too him?

      With Jason Jaffray gone I wonder if they want a leader for the farm team? Maybe that’s Fraser and Halischuk?

      • Mitch Kasprick says

        Slater … but he probably still thinks he has more NHL game left in him plus guys want to try and hang around until expansion as our good friend Darryl Manchulenko pointed out a couple of podcasts ago.

        • Derek Curtis says

          I thought Slater would be perfect for that role. But I can understand Jimmy looking to contribute on a higher level. Probably pays a little better eh? Lol

  2. George Bain says

    Very good points Derek. I agree the fourth line will be fine!

  3. George Bain says

    I would be happy to see Stempniak on the Jets but who knows what has happened or is happening behind the scenes.

    • Derek Curtis says

      Absolutely, curious that he seemed to play well for us at the end. I’m sure other GMs saw it too. Yet they haven’t moved on him either. I would love to know what his agent is looking to get for him.

  4. Dayofthedog says

    Not sure if id say our 4th line will be fine. It’s been a black hole since the team returned. They have generally only been capable of playing 6 mins a night and they have done so poorly in every measurable metric. I have hope Andrew Copp will be an upgrade over Slater but surrounding him with poor players like Thorb and Peluso or Hali is not a recipe for success. Lee Stempniak is by far and away a much higher quality player in terms of point production and possession metrics and is by far more capable of moving up the linup in case of injury than any of thorb, fraser, hali or peluso. Not resigning him is a problem. It’s time we expect more out of a 4th line than 6 minutes and sub par PK work. See Blackhawks, Chicago for what a 4th line can be instead of what it has been here in winnipeg.

    • Derek Curtis says

      I agree our 4th line needs to contribute more than 5min a night. But I’m not prepare to say it’s a problem not signing Stempniak yet. I like the idea of freeing up some spots for youth to make the team. Again, not sure what Stempniak is/was looking for far as term and dollars but I would assume he isn’t looking to be a fringe player that spends half the time watching from upstairs. On the other side, not sure if Chevy is prepared to pay him a million plus to sit there either should a youth be ready to make that jump. Peluso and Hali aren’t locks for a full time spot on the ice.

      That being said, if we want to develop some youth on that 4th line, 3-5min a game isn’t going to do them any good IMO. Part of the responsibility has to fall on to Pomo, he needs to get that 4th line out there more often. In the playoff push I believe that lack of offense in general forced him to ride the top nine heavy, games where tight and to stay in them he needed to ride them hard. Part of that is the personal on the 4th line sure. Chicago’s top nine was superior to ours and that takes a lot of pressure of the 4th line, also allows the coach to toss them out more often when your top guys are putting the puck in the net. A luxury we didn’t have last season. Not many teams can say they have a 4th line like Chicago. They took a while to build that team to where it is. The Jets are trying to get there too I’m sure. We have come a long way since Tim Stapleton, it’s a slow process but it is trending steadily up IMO.

      Darryl Manchulenko ( @Manny041 ) brought up an interesting point on twitter, if Stempniak isn’t signed anywhere by camp offer him a PTO. Brings the competition to the camp without taking a roster spot away for youth to slot in. I think that would be fantastic. If Stempniak earns a spot and the youth aren’t ready then so be it. Win Win for the team either way.

      I like Lee, I would love to see us sign him, but I don’t think it’s a huge mistake if we don’t. If he was a “hot commodity” he would have likely found a job already. We can get by without him.

      • Dayofthedog says

        It’s true few teams have a 4th line like chicago. But chicagos 4th line is most traditional teams 3rd lines. Kruger is a beast and he doesnt score much but he takes close to 80% of his faceoffs in the defensive zone and plays against some of the other teams top lines allowing the blackhawks to play their best players against softer competition and start their shifts in the offensive zone. They are also capable of playing 12 to 14 minutes a night and generally win their minutes.

        Its true we dont know what Stemp wanted but its hard to believe at 1 or 1.2 mil would not be an excellent aquisition. He truly is underrated.

        Not signing him is a problem because we do not have any proven quality forward depth. The only time we have had depth since the returm of the franchise is last year going into the playoffs when our 4th line had tlusty and/or stemp on it.

        We already have 2 rookies penciled into our linup… between copp and ehlers thats enough to start a season for me. We are 1 injury away from Thorburn playing on the 3rd line or even worse maybe even the second.

        Thats not just ideal to me thats a problem

        • Derek Curtis says

          All good points.

          I know given Ehlers age situation they may prefer to keep him up rather than send him to Europe or back to Halifax. I’m not sure they have anyone penciled in yet though. Armia, Lemieux, Petan amongst a few others that will be bidding for a position. There is some additional compitition in there.

          I’m sure Stempniak would come in at a decent price, but im thinking the organization is happy with what they have. They won’t be running for the cup this year I’m sure, maybe they feel they don’t need to spend extra money if it’s not needed. Let things marinade for a season or two and get those young players some experience at a professional level Moose/Jets however it shakes out. Save money now to spend it later.

          For myself. I believe they are happy to take a step back even if it means missing the playoffs. I know they would love to make it again but I don’t think it’s the end all if they don’t. Timing things to turnover to a youth movement when the likes of Pavelec , Thorburn, and Stafford contracts are up is what I think hey are planning for.

          Just my opinion though lol

          • You actually nailed my feeling as well with that post. I too am prepared for the jets to take a step back this year and i think its inevitable actually. Truth be told im actually thinking the jets might be going for a soft tank this year. I think 2 to 3 years from now is the organizations target for opening the cup contender window.

            That said i just wish we could ice a 4th line that doesnt make me throw things at my TV every game and i feel getting solid and underrated vetrans on the cheap is a good way to do that.

  5. I should read my comments before i post them… that spelling was horrendous.

    I think the jets have the right mix of prospects to one day ice a really really good 4th line (chicagoesque) in the next 2 or 3 years wih guys like Lowry, Copp, Lemieux, Kos, lipon, Foley as well as 3 potent scoring lines.

    • Derek Curtis says

      Lol I definitely understand taking things Jets related on the TV. I’m with ya on the prospects. Lets hope for the best either way.

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