By Scott Billeck
For Winnipeg Jets prospects Jason Kasdorf and Peter Stoykewych, another development camp is another opportunity for both to showcase their skills to the Jets brass. It is also a great opportunity for them to advertise the talent that exists in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Goaltender Kasdorf and defenceman Stoykewych both have fond memories of their time in the MJHL. Coming from two completely different teams, their on-ice experiences were different, but what they took from their time in the league has been long-lasting.
Kasdorf played on a strong Portage Terriers team, making the playoffs in both of his years spent in the MJHL. The Terriers won the league championship in the 2010-11 season and went on to win the Anavet Cup on the back of a shutout in Game Six to clinch the series and a spot in the RBC Cup.
Kasdorf appreciated his time in the MJHL, knowing that the coaching and the caliber of play was instrumental in his early development.
“I’m glad I played a couple years in the MJHL,” said Kasdorf. “Goaltenders usually take a little longer to develop so it was good for me to get that extra time before I went to college.
“You learn lots every year, I think I took a lot every year I played in Portage, it really helped me.”
Stoykewych spent his MJHL career with a under-achieving Winnipeg South Blues team. The big defenceman was a standout though for the Blues back line. In his sophomore year with the organization in 2009-10, Stoykewych broke out for 31 points in 56 games played. He represented Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, played in the CJHL Prospects game and was an MJHL All-Star.
As with Kadorf, Stoykewych looks back favorably on his time spent in the MJHL.
“The MJHL was huge for me,” stated Stoykewych. “It provided me with the opportunity to play against older guys and play on a consistent basis in a bigger role.
“I think, especially in my early development, that it helped me a lot and I really enjoyed my time in the MJHL.
Both Kasdorf and Stoykewych have moved on, playing a year apart in the United States Hockey League with the Des Moines Buccaneers before heading to their respective colleges.
They are both in the same league this week again, at least for now, and they are both looking to take as much as they can out of this week and apply it to their respective games.
“You always come in here with the intent to make a good impression,” said Stoykewych. “I think that is all you can really do, especially in a summer camp. You always go out and try and make a positive impression but at the same time you try to stay relaxed, have fun and enjoy the camp.”
Stoykewych said he has taken a bit of a leadership role as it is his second year in attendance at the camp.
“It’s similar to last year, so it helps me help out the younger guys a little bit,” said Stoykewych. “I think going into a lot of things you are able to explain kind of how to go about things and how they want things done, so its good for me and the first year guys as well.”
Kasdorf is in a similar boat, being that this is his second go at camp as well.
“I know what to expect, so nothing is to new for me,” said Kasdorf. “I just plan on learning as much as I can from the goalie coach, Wade Flaherty, and just trying and learn as much as I can from all the stuff they are teaching us.”
The Jets were also hard at work Tuesday working on their restricted free agent list, which is now one less as they signed Eric Tangradi to a two-year, one-way deal for a reported $1.35 million. Tangradi will make $650,000 in the first year and $700,000 the following one.
Tangradi, 24, was acquired by the Jets from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Tangradi suited up for 36 games with the Jets scoring one goal and adding three assists to go along with 22 penalty minutes.
Patrice Cormier was also signed late Tuesday afternoon. Cormier, 23, appeared in 10 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season for seven penalty minutes. He played the majority of the 2012-13 season with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League where he suited up for 35 games and earned 11 points (7G, 4A) and 69 penalty minutes. The Moncton, NB native has played in 40 career NHL games between Atlanta and Winnipeg for two career points (1G, 1A) and 11 career penalty minutes.
Winnipeg Jets Development Camp continues Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at the MTS Iceplex.
(With files from the Winnipeg Jets)
(Feature Photo by James Carey Lauder)
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