Veteran winger has been a good fit in so many ways
Jason King — File photo
The casual outside observer might have pegged Jason King as the token Newfoundlander on the St. John's IceCaps when they began their American Hockey League existence last fall.
If so, King changed any such notion as he went on to be the IceCaps' leading goalscorer in their inaugural season, a key part of the team's leadership core and the franchise's most popular player.
The IceCaps-King relationship was one that certainly worked and it should be one that continues for at least a couple more years with the announcement the 30-year-old Corner Brook native has signed a two-year contract extension with the AHL team.
"This was big for us, huge actually," said King, referring to his young family of wife Jennifer and his two sons, age four and one.
"For us, things really worked out well here last year and we certainly wanted that to continue."
So did the Winnipeg Jets, the IceCaps' parent organization.
When Jets' assistant general manager/IceCaps GM Craig Heisinger signed King last summer, he had a good idea of what the right-winger might bring to the team. After all, as Vancouver Canucks prospect, King had appeared in nearly 200 games for the Heisinger-run Manitoba Moose from 2002 to 2006. But he was also coming off three straight years playing in Europe it the German Elite League, so it remained to be seen how he would be able to readjust to the level/style of play and the "grind" of the AHL.
"It was a good test for both myself and for the organization," agreed King, "but I have to say I did have a good feeling going in, and I actually think it turned even better than expected."
King had 22 goals and 19 assists for the IceCaps last season. The 41 points came in 70 game, the fourth-most appearances by any player last season.
His contributions came off the ice as well, as he named the IceCaps' AHL Man of the Year for his work in the community.
As was the case last year, King's new contract in an AHL-only deal.
"There comes a time you have to be realistic about things," he said.
"If an NHL deal had been there, I would have certainly taken it, but with all the kids and young prospects the Jets already have and will have, I'm comfortable fitting into a role where I'm being around to provide leadership, among other things."
While the Jets announced King's contract Sunday, he said it actually had been ironed out in the last week of June.
"They were great to deal with. Zinger (Heisinger) made the process easy," said King, who suggested IceCaps' president Danny Williams and chief operating officer Glenn Stanford might have been working to expedite the contract.
"They weren't directly in on (negotiations), but I'm pretty sure they had something to do with it."