Brett MacLean’s change of scenery is Patrice Cormier’s temporary headache.
The Winnipeg Jets have bolstered their stock of forwards by claiming MacLean, a left winger, off waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes.
And the move has cost Cormier a chance to start with the big club in Sunday’s home opener against the Montreal Canadiens. Cormier, who had been impressive in training camp, was assigned to the St. John’s IceCaps to make room for MacLean and will suit up in their season opener in Providence.
"It’s just the way it goes. It’s numbers. He’ll be a great player for us and he’ll be back soon enough," said Jets’ head coach Claude Noel after Thursday’s practice at MTS IcePlex. "That’s just part of the process. I’m sure he’s disappointed and we’re disappointed, too, but he’ll be back.
"He hasn’t played much and he’s a good player."
Twice injured during the 2010-11 season, Cormier appeared in only 32 games – 21 with the Atlanta Thrashers, 11 with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves – and the Jets want him to get more ice time in St. John’s to improve his game.
As for MacLean, management hopes his production as a junior and in the AHL can translate here in Winnipeg. The 22-year old London product was selected by the Coyotes in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 2007 NHL entry draft and has spent most of the last three years with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.
He'll join the Jets immediately.
MacLean (6-2, 197) had 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists) in 51 games with the Rampage last year and has 74 goals in three seasons in the AHL. In his final year of junior with the Oshawa Generals, he led the OHL in goals with 61 and finished second in the league in scoring with 119 points.
"He’s someone who had a great junior career and is a former second-round pick," said Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. "He’s someone our scouts have identified as a guy who can maybe break into the National Hockey League... he only played a handful of NHL games, but he’ll be given every opportunity to show himself in our organization."