Winnipeg best fit for Jaffray

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

Jason Jaffray has switched his NHL allegiances without leaving town, officially agreeing to a one-year-contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old forward from Olds, Alta., spent last season as property of the Anaheim Ducks but joined the AHL's Manitoba Moose for their playoff run after his knee injury healed in March.

The second-leading scorer in Moose history will now attempt to finally make the full-time jump to the NHL, where he has four goals and six assists in 36 career games with the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

"I had a lot of options in both North America and Europe," Jaffray said. "The best fit is in Winnipeg. They were one of the first teams to show interest."

Jaffray believes he can play on the second, third or fourth line at the NHL level, and if he has to be the extra forward he would gladly assume that role, too.

"All I gotta do is come out and perform in camp," Jaffray said.

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff shares the same optimism about the Moose fan favourite.

"Jason Jaffray is someone who is knocking on the door from the NHL standpoint," Cheveldayoff said. "He's certainly a familiar face here in Winnipeg and someone that, given the opportunity and given the opportunity to seize, could be a real bright thing for us."

Jaffray suffered torn knee ligaments on the first day of Ducks training camp last season. The joint had 75% of its original strength when he returned to action with the Moose, but it is now completely healed.

The fact he's familiar with the coaching staff and assistant GM Craig Heisinger has Jaffray feeling good about his chances. Knowing how passionate the fans of Winnipeg are will provide him with even more motivation.

"Seeming the excitement about the team coming to Winnipeg," he said, "drives me a little bit more."

STILL TALKING: Discussions continue between the Jets and their last restricted free agent, defenceman Zach Bogosian.

Just don't expect a deal anytime soon.

"There's really no time frame set in place to have that one done by, so it's kind of a summer negotiation type thing," Cheveldayoff said.

Unlike other restricted free agents, there is no deadline to sign Bogosian because he is in a different RFA category.

ONE MORE: Cheveldayoff expects Claude Noel's coaching staff to get its final assistant either later this week or early next.

"Interviews are still ongoing," he said. "We've conducted several interviews for the vacant position, and we have a couple more left this week."


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