On Monday afternoon, as the clock ticked down to the cut off of the trade deadline, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas made his move and submitted his one and only trade on deadline day to the NHL head office.
No, it wasn’t adding a blueliner like Dougie Hamilton or Alex Pietrangelo, nor did he add the players with ‘grit’ that people wanted, like Wayne Simmonds or Micheal Ferland. Dubas sent centre Par Lindholm to the Winnipeg Jets* for Nic Petan. Many people had just one question:
Who is Nic Petan?
The easy answer: He’s a 23 year old winger who can also play centre. He’s listed at 5’9” and 179lbs. He’s from Delta, BC and played junior hockey for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.
Petan played four years in the WHL and scored 120 points (46G, 74A) in his second season. That year (2012-13), he won the CHL Top Scorer award alongside linemate Brendan Leipsic, Petan also won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as top WHL scorer, the WHL +/- Award with a +68, was a first team all-star, and won the WHL Championship with the Winterhawks, who placed second in the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament after losing 6-4 to the Halifax Mooseheads in the final. Two years later he would help lead Team Canada to a gold medal in the men’s World Junior Championships.
Petan was one of the top players in his draft class, but was drafted 43rd overall in the second round by the Jets*. Since joining the Jets*, he has had an up and down career, moving between locker rooms in Winnipeg, being called up and sent down to the AHL Manitoba Moose.
In this year’s Top 25 Jets* Under 25, Arctic Ice Hockey ranked him #11:
Petan, 23, had a successful season in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose last year, while his time with the Jets was less productive. Petan appeared in 15 games for the Jets, averaging 8:25 of ice per night, and netting two goals. His career numbers in the NHL aren’t much better, with 21 points in 95 games as things just haven’t clicked for whatever reason.
With the Moose, Petan averaged a point per game, scoring 52 points (15+37) in 52 games, one of only eight players in the league who average at least a point per game while playing more than 40 games. That is impressive point production at the pro hockey level, and indicates he should be able to do more in the NHL.
I asked some questions of Arctic Ice Hockey’s Managing Editor HappyCaraT, and she was kind enough to answer them:
In 2016/17 Petan was a Jet for most of the season, but then dropped back down to the Moose for most of 17/18 and this season. What has kept him from being a regular in the line up?
This is a tough question because there really is no apparent reason why he was not given a regular chance. He was fine when playing with other good players, but he spent a lot of time with Chris Thorburn on the fourth line, and they were terrible together. We had someone pull data on him a couple years ago and they determined that Petan is great until he had to play with Thorburn which was often. Paul Maurice also randomly decides not to play a player and that is it; they are done. We saw this with Marko Dano and now with Petan. It is frustrating and weird how long he will sit players for.
What are some of the strengths he can bring to a team?
Petan is a very skilled player. He has not played with other skilled players enough to determine if he can play in a role other than the fourth line, but he is great to have in your back pocket in case of injury. He is good at scoring in close to the net, if I remember correctly, but he has not played in so long that I might be remembering incorrectly.
Will Jets fans miss him, or is he just fourth line fodder?
Some Jets fans will miss him and some will not. Even his biggest fans wanted him to be free from the press box, partially because he could help them more than someone like Brendan Lemieux. There is something to be said about wanting a player to simply be able to play instead of scratched game in game out for no reason.
It feels like Petan is a depth player this season, hanging out in the press box with long forgotten defenders Justin Holl and Igor Ozhiganov. He’ll have to fight for notice in practice, and in any NHL time he gets, to prove he deserves a spot in the lineup full time.