Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Clitsome signing part of Chevy's plan to piece together Jets lineup

  • Print
Grant Clitsome -- an important third-pairing/depth defenceman -- was signed to a new three-year, $6.2-million deal by the Jets Tuesday.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Grant Clitsome -- an important third-pairing/depth defenceman -- was signed to a new three-year, $6.2-million deal by the Jets Tuesday. Photo Store

If the stars and moons were to all align perfectly in Kevin Cheveldayoff's galaxy -- and that's always a big if in the whacked out world of the National Hockey League -- then by this time next week he'll have plugged a few gaping holes on the Winnipeg Jets roster.

The Jets' boss is still scrambling to upgrade the team's thin right side, even after swapping picks for Michael Frolik from the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. He has question marks on the third and fourth lines with Nik Antropov, Antti Miettinen, Mike Santorelli and Kyle Wellwood all becoming unrestricted free agents on Friday.

He'll likely need to find a replacement for veteran defenceman Ron Hainsey, also an unrestricted free agent, and -- while contract talks have continued with Al Montoya's agent this week -- it's possible the team may need to find another back-up goaltender for the second consecutive summer.

Oh, and there's the not-so-little matter of locking up restricted free agents who were made qualifying offers this week such as Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Alex Burmistrov, Eric Tangradi, Zach Redmond, Paul Postma and Arturs Kulda -- all of whom will take a substantial bite out of the team's salary cap.

'In the cap world you have to try and balance different things for where you are at in the moment

and where you want to be in the short term and where you need to be in the long term.

Behind the scenes you are looking at the spreadsheets, you're seeing where all the financial commitments are, where they may go and what you need to do moving forward to piece together a good team'

-- Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

So, yeah, 'frantic' doesn't even begin to describe how busy the next few hours and days are going to be for Cheveldayoff and the rest of Jets management.

"There's a lot of moving parts," Cheveldayoff said Wednesday. "There's Bogosian, there's other RFA (restricted free agent) contracts that need to get done, there's some spots up front that we still need to fill.

"In the cap world you have to try and balance different things for where you are at in the moment and where you want to be in the short term and where you need to be in the long term.

"Behind the scenes you are looking at the spreadsheets, you're seeing where all the financial commitments are, where they may go and what you need to do moving forward to piece together a good team."

All of which, in a roundabout way, brings us to Grant Clitsome -- an important third-pairing/depth defenceman -- signed to a new three-year, $6.2-million deal by the Jets Tuesday.

Over a career of scratching and fighting his way to the NHL -- and then scratching and fighting just to stay there -- Clitsome has learned a few things about himself and his game.

First and foremost, the 28-year-old knows he'll never be a candidate for the Norris Trophy. But, given the opportunity to shine and play some meaty minutes, Clitsome has proven to be reliable and durable.

In fact, after an iffy start to the 2013 season, Clitsome stepped up his game when bodies started dropping on the Jets defensive corps and in the last 33 games had 14 points, was plus 14 and averaged 21 minutes of ice time.

"As a 28-year-old defenceman -- younger than most of the defencemen in free agency that we had looked at and the potentials of what they might cost versus their age -- Grant was a good fit," Cheveldayoff said. "He was someone who showed his game was stronger when times got tough down the stretch and there were guys injured and his minutes increased. His game got better."

Clitsome said he was tempted to test free agency when the market opens on Friday, but all along wanted to get a deal done with Winnipeg. After all it was the Jets who scooped him up off waivers in 2012 and it was here where he stepped up his game.

"They took a chance on me when they picked me up on waivers and gave me an opportunity to show I can play in the league," Clitsome said. "The increased playing time was huge for me. Unfortunately for our team this year we lost Toby (Enstrom) for a good amount of time, but it definitely gave me the opportunity to step in and try and help the team out and try and prove I could play.

"It's been the story of my career to try and prove people wrong and show people I can play starting from where I was drafted and working my way up from there. It's something I've dealt with my whole career and I'm probably going to keep dealing with it."

At least now he'll deal with it with the security blanket of a three-year deal.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2013 D1

History

Updated on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 6:52 AM CDT: Replaces photo, changes headline

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google