David Aebischer has a Stanley Cup ring and once started 62 games in a season for the Colorado Avalanche.
Not the kind of resume you’d expect from a player on a tryout contract.
Aebischer, who backed up Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Roy as the Avalanche won the 2001 Stanley Cup, is in Winnipeg this week, hoping to land a spot with the Jets or perhaps another NHL team. If all else fails, he could end up with the Jets farm team in St. John’s, Nfld.
Considering he has played 214 NHL games and once posted a 2.09 goals against average, 32 wins and a .924 save percentage with Colorado, he’s not a bad guy to have in camp, pushing incumbent goaltenders Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason.
“My expectations are that I do well on the ice and I end up playing somewhere in North America,” Aebischer said. “I sure wouldn’t say no to playing for the Jets. I know it’s not going to happen like ‘Click’ and I’m in the NHL, but I’m here to work for it and I’m ready for the minors perhaps.”
Aebischer spent the last four seasons in his native Switzerland, playing for HC Lugano.
The 33-year-old, who has a 2.52 career goals against average and a .912 save percentage, described his experience at Lugano as “So-so,” and indicated he’s been trying to get back to the NHL for quite some time.
“It’s been my goal for the last couple years but I had a clause in my contract that I had to sign a one-way deal (in the NHL) and it didn’t happen,” Aebischer said. “Right now I have a chance to come here and have a tryout and see what happens.”
Jets coach Claude Noel said how Aebischer fits in to the Jets goaltending picture will play itself out over the next few weeks.
“We have goalies in place, more or less,” Noel said. “David’s going to be in a position where he may be playing for an opportunity, if a door opens. He’s looked pretty good. I’ve been quite happy with him.”
While Aebischer could end up with the St. John’s IceCaps and be insurance for the Jets in case Pavelec or Mason gets injured, he would have to pass through waivers to get there.
“If I was him, I’d be playing for 30 teams, not only one,” said Noel. “There’s no question, that’s what I would be doing. If you’re any player, anytime you play a game, you expose yourself to everybody, not only your organization, but everybody else.”
Jets goaltending coach Wade Flaherty said Aebischer’s mere presence in camp is paying dividends for the team.
“Without a doubt, when you’ve got a guy coming to camp with NHL experience, he’s going to give all of the guys a push,” Flaherty said. “And every time you can have healthy competition, it makes everybody better.”