The Winnipeg Jets have stolen away Antti Miettinen from the Tampa Bay Lightning this morning. Miettinen was playing hockey in Europe this season before signing a two year deal with the Bolts yesterday. However, because he was playing overseas, he had to clear waivers to join the club. Many thought that signing him for two years instead of one would scare teams away from claiming him, but the Jets have jumped right back into the waiver wire fold.
This move serves a few purposes. First and foremost, the Jets have been a very banged up team this year. With Antropov constantly on the mend and the blueline always in a state of disrepair, the team has looked to add reinforcements on a few occassions. Miettinen is a guy who can step into multiple roles, and will be able to help the team with any number of injury related deficiencies
Further to that, the move hurts a team that the Jets are currently in a battle with for the final playoff spot. Any kind of blow they can deal to Yzerman’s struggling Lightning team, is ultimately good for the team’s chances at the post season. Chevyldayoff certainly does not want to do the Bolts any favors and allow them to sign depth players out of Europe unchallenged. We saw similar rejections last year when other teams tried to pick up players like Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos.
That said, Miettinen should not be viewed in the same light as Marek Svatos. He is probably a lot closer to Kyle Wellwood in terms of being able to help the Jets in a signfiicant way. This is a player who pretty consistently hits in the 15-20 goal range, despite having spent the bulk of his career on the offensively-challenged Minnesota Wild. Over the last three seasons, he’s posted 51 goals and 60 assists to go along with a minus-6 rating, which is actually pretty impressive considering how often the Wild were outscored in that time frame.
Finnish players are generally known for being hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone, team-oriented guys. Whether the stereotype is always true is debatable, but it seems to be the case with Miettinen. His work ethic should fit in with the mould that Chevyldayoff is trying to build. If nothing else, perhaps Miettinen can provide some tips on how to take down his old team when the Jets join the same Conference as the Wild in the 2013 season.
Also, with the Ducks sitting in the bottom of their conference – the playoffs now requiring a miracle – could there be a secondary reason for bringing in a Finnish Olympian? All I know is, Teemu Selanne returns to the city that drafted him this Saturday. He’ll be wearing the wrong jersey, but it won’t matter. Expect deafening applause alongside standing ovation. The Winnipeg faithful might give Miettinen a standing ovation as well, if he were manage to convince the Finnish Flash to come home for a few months at the trade deadline.
One can dream…