WINNIPEG - It’s a pre-season game in North Carolina of all places, but it couldn’t be much bigger for Jason Jaffray.
The former Manitoba Moose forward who has made Winnipeg his home will need to show what he’s got on Sunday in Charlotte, where the Jets will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in exhibition action.
“That’s the best thing about coming into this situation I’m in now,” Jaffray said. “You don’t have 15 forwards on one-way contracts. You have an opportunity to outplay players to get a roster spot. That’s the way I’m looking at it.
“If I can outplay those six or seven guys who are vying for those two or three spots, that’s my spot.”
Jaffray, who was a WHL sniper 10 years ago, almost made the Calgary Flames two years ago, even spending three weeks with the team after the final cuts before being sent to the minors.
He signed with the Jets in July because he has familiarity with a few members of the team brass from his time with the Moose.
“It’s definitely not going to work against you,” he said. “It’s great to have those guys on your side, but I’m coming in with the mindset that I still need to make an impression.”
Jaffray played in Tuesday’s pre-season split-squad game in Columbus, getting nearly 16 minutes of ice time and generating two shots on goal. He was on the ice for one Columbus goal that went off his skate and into the net. Other than that, he was happy with his performance.
“I had a couple good blocked shots, had some shots on goal, had a couple two-on-ones with the guys,” Jaffray said. “I really enjoyed playing with (Jim) Slater and (Chris) Thorburn. We had a lot of opportunities.
“Slater probably could’ve had two or three on the night. He’ll tell you himself. he was kind of snakebitten that night.”
Jaffray, who is helping his new teammates find houses and restaurants, knows his chances to make the Jets are limited, so he has to make every second count Sunday.
“I’m coming in to this year’s camp preparing to be a full-timer,” Jaffray said. “If you don’t come in with that mindset, you’re beaten before you get in here.”