Record: 52 – 20 – 10
Jordy Stallard’s time with the Winnipeg Jets is over before it ever really began.
The 20-year-old Brandon product, selected in the fifth round (127th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft, is now a free agent after he wasn’t signed to a contract by Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Stallard is eligible to re-enter the 2018 draft, set to be held June 22-23 in Dallas. There was no comment from the Jets on the reasons for not getting Stallard inked, but it seems likely a fairly deep organizational prospect pool at the forward position meant a determination was made he wasn’t part of their plans.
Stallard is coming off a terrific final junior season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League as an overage player. The 6-2, 185-pound centre scored 44 goals (tied for 10th overall in the league) and added 47 assists in 72 regular-season games, then had three goals and five assists in seven playoff games.
His 91 regular-season points put him in a tie for 14th-overall in league scoring, and he was named Prince Albert’s most valuable player. It was quite a surge for a player whose career-best in three previous junior seasons was 49 points.
After the Raiders were eliminated in the first round and his junior career officially came to an end, Stallard signed an amateur tryout offer with the Manitoba Moose on April 7. He didn’t appear in any regular-season or playoff games and was released on May 2, just prior to the start of their second-round series with Rockford.
In an interview with the Free Press earlier this season, Stallard said the Jets organization had told him to get stronger and more efficient in puck battles and improve in the faceoff circle after attending training camp.
"I think I came back from Winnipeg’s camp with some confidence and some pretty good feedback from the staff there. I think I’m going to take everything they want me to do and apply it to my game and really use it to get better," said Stallard, who anchored Prince Albert’s top line and was a major piece of both the power play and penalty kill.
"I’ve definitely got a lot of room to grow. I’m trying to put my best foot forward so I can earn that contract."
Stallard was one of just six picks the Jets had in the 2016 draft, in which they selected Patrik Laine second overall.
Their other selections included defencemen Logan Stanley (18th overall), Luke Green (79th), Jacob Cederholm (97) and goaltender Mikhail Berdin (157).
It’s not unusual for NHL teams to elect not to sign some of the players they draft, especially in later rounds. Other examples by the Jets include forward Matteo Gennaro (seventh round, 2015), defenceman Marcus Karlstrom (seventh round, 2013), forward Lukas Sutter (second round, 2012) and defenceman Zachary Yuen (fourth round, 2011).
Forward Brennan Serville (third round, 2011) and defenceman Aaron Harstad (seventh round, 2011) ultimately signed AHL contracts with the Moose.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
Updated on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 7:26 AM CDT: Photo added