Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets acquire bruising Peluso on waivers from St. Louis

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HE hasn't put one blade in the ice this week in Winnipeg but it sure sounds like the Jets have made one training camp decision.

Forward Anthony Peluso, 23, was claimed Wednesday after being waived by the St. Louis Blues, and he may be destined for Tanner Glass's old spot alongside Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn.

Now Peluso, a 2007 sixth-round pick of the Blues, is listed as a right-winger, which doesn't seem like the best fit.

But is this the PST Line?

"You lose Glass off that line and you look for a guy with size who can maybe replace those elements," Jets coach Claude Noel said Wednesday. "I think that any time you're challenged physically, you want to be able to respond. He gives us a guy of Glass's nature so I think it's a good add for us."

The Jets surprised some with the move on Wednesday, given that the native of North York, Ont., was into his fourth pro season and has not played a single NHL game.

So far in 36 AHL games this season with the Peoria Rivermen, he had five goals, 11 points, and 58 penalty minutes.

He began his pro career in 2009-10, with Peoria and also with short stints in the ECHL and IHL.

This season's production, a modest 11 points, already surpasses any of Peluso's previous season-long AHL totals. He did score 20 goals in his final year of junior in the OHL, split between Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton.

It's almost surely Peluso's size, 6-4, 234 pounds, that has caught the Jets' interest.

"He's a big guy who plays with weight, is fairly tough," Noel said. "The reports we get on him is he's a decent skater who can play some minutes. That's the important thing. We add some toughness and size, which is good."

The ability to skate and play will be the key, Noel said, as he repeated his lack of interest in passengers.

"His role is more of a fourth-line, physical-presence guy but the important thing for us is that he's able to play some minutes," the coach said. "I have no interest in having a two-, three-minute guy.

"He's a guy that I saw a couple of years ago with the Moose and I liked him as a big forward. The other thing is that he's a guy who's improved and we think he can play some minutes.

"He serves a good role for us."

Noel stopped short of the line-nickname answer when given the question, but again left a hint.

"I'm not a spelling major," he said. "The fans may be happy there."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2013 D2

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