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This article was published 1/2/2019 (351 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Jets are actively trying to trade perpetual healthy scratch Nic Petan, while rejecting multiple offers for another young forward in Jack Roslovic.
That's the word from player agents for the pair, who spoke to the Free Press this week about the different directions their clients are headed.
Barring an injury to a teammate, it appears the only way Petan participates in another NHL game this season is if he’s dealt to another organization.
B.C.-based Joe Oliver of KO Sports said Cheveldayoff told him the 23-year-old centre — a healthy scratch for 15 straight games and 25 of the Winnipeg’s last 27 — is being shopped in advance of the league's Feb. 25 deadline.
"Chevy has committed to moving him. He’s trying to find the right deal for the Winnipeg Jets," Oliver said. "He says they are actively having conversations. There are a lot of things up in the air, but Nic has definitely been part of that.
"Kevin has asked me to keep touching base. There is a deadline coming up."
Petan has been a press-box fixture in Winnipeg and out-of-town buildings for the last six weeks. He’s played in just 13 games this season, logging limited ice time on the fourth line, and has just two assists during that span.
The Jets appear unwilling to risk losing him for nothing by placing him on waivers, where the other 30 teams could have a shot at claiming him. And so he's stuck in a perpetual state of limbo.
Petan last played on Dec. 22 — a 1-0 Jets win in Vancouver, his old stomping grounds. His last point came Dec. 20 in San Jose when he set up Mason Appleton’s first career NHL goal against the Sharks.
Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice indicated nearly three weeks ago Petan would only be pencilled into the lineup out of necessity.
"He’s got some guys that are maybe a little bit younger than he is that can do a lot of what he does...," Maurice said Jan. 13. "To his credit, when we got banged up and went in at the end of the road trip before the Christmas break, he played well. He’s got a body of work of almost enough points to say there is enough offence there you could play him up, (but) he’s behind a bunch of guys that he’s not taking their jobs."
Drafted in the second round (43rd overall) in 2013, Petan was small in stature but possessed high-end skill and vision, making him, by all accounts, a terrific prospect. More than five years later, the organization has placed other blue-chippers — such as Kyle Connor, Roslovic, Brendan Lemieux and Appleton — ahead of him on the depth chart.
In 105 career games, the product of Delta, B.C., has scored just six goals and added 17 assists as a fourth-line checker and in limited duty on the second power-play unit.
Last fall, Petan was positioned to battle for a top-9 spot, however, his efforts were derailed in the middle of training camp with the sudden death of his father in Vancouver on Sept. 18. Petan took a leave of absence from training camp, missing the final six pre-season games and the start of the regular season.
He returned to the club in mid-October and waited patiently for his chance to get in the lineup, finally making his season debut in Helsinki Nov. 2 against the Florida Panthers.
Petan appeared in 11 straight in November but has pretty much been the odd man out since.
"Nic’s in a tough situation there. There have been extenuating circumstances, but through this he’s been very professional about this," said Oliver. "(Cheveldayoff) is looking for something that could help the Jets and that’s great. I love the program. These guys have done a really good job with it. But at the same time, Nic deserves a chance to play, so if they can make him part of a deal, then great."
It's a much different story for the 22-year-old Roslovic, who has carved out a bigger role with the Jets this season, especially following an injury last month to Nikolaj Ehlers. Roslovic has gone from a fourth-line role to now playing on the second line with Bryan Little and Patrik Laine. He scored his fourth goal of the season in Thursday night's 4-3 win over Columbus, a pivotal power-play tally in the third period that tied the game.
"We have heard from a handful of teams who have a genuine interest in Jack and we are aware that several have reached out to Chevy. Jack loves what's going on in Winnipeg and we are definitely not seeking out trade opportunities. However, it feels good for him to know that he is valued by other organizations, too," his agent, Ken Robinson, told the Free Press.
Roslovic, the 25th overall pick of the 2015 draft, now has two goals in the past three games. He's up to four goals and eight assists in 50 games this season.
"He is now getting an opportunity here, one that I would guess most people felt was overdue. I'm not blaming the coach or the GM. The traffic ahead of him is heavy, especially down the middle. The team is stacked and the opportunities this year may only present after an unlucky break for another player. That stinks, but sometimes that's how it is," said Robinson.
"After playing five, six, seven minutes a night for the first half of the season, he is starting to get his confidence back and we expect really exciting things from Jack and Winnipeg down the stretch."
Assistant sports editor
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Updated on Friday, February 1, 2019 at 2:33 PM CST: minor edit