Playing in Europe an option for Jaffray

IceCaps’ captain set to become a free agent, hopes to learn more about possibility of returning to Jets’ organization in the coming days

Published on April 23, 2013
St. John’s IceCaps’ captain Jason Jaffray, shown in action against the Toronto Marlies at Mile One Centre earlier this season, hopes to learn more about his future in the Winnipeg Jets organization at his season-ending exit meeting on Wednesday.
— Telegram file photo

The captain of the St. John’s IceCaps has indicated he would like to return to the Winnipeg Jets organization next season, but Jason Jaffray says he already has alternative plans — including the possibility of heading overseas — if he can’t reach a new deal with the Jets.

“I have a few different options going into this summer,” said the 31-year-old Jaffray Monday after completing his season-ending medical evaluation at Mile One Centre.

“Everything is still up in the air. I have had some conversations with (Jets assistant general manager/IceCaps GM) Craig Heisinger, but I’m hoping to know more on Wednesday.”

That’s when Jaffray gets together with the IceCaps’ coaches and Heisinger as the team holds its exit meetings with players just days after St. John’s disappointing AHL season came to an end with the team sitting six places shy of  a playoff berth.

Jaffray personally had a solid campaign, delivering 15 goals and 48 points in 65 games for the IceCaps, while displaying effort and work ethic that made him the winner of the Fans Choice Award,

What’s more, 2012-13 was another comeback campaign for the Albertan, who underwent spinal fusion surgery last spring after suffering a season-ending injury on a hit from behind. His recovery from the surgery delayed his start to this season, but from Dec. 15 to this past Sunday’s finale in Toronto, he dressed in 49 straight games.

With the NHL lockout on, Jaffray had began this season on an American Hockey League contract, but after the work stoppage ended, signed a two-way NHL deal that featured a pro-rated AHL salary of $200,000. He did not play any NHL games this year and with the expiration of that contract, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, as he did last year.

“Like I said, we’ve talked already, but I don’t know what he (Heisinger) will say on Wednesday. We’ll see then,” said Jaffary, who says playing in Europe is an option.

“It definitely is an option. It was option the last couple of years, but because of my injuries I wanted to stay in North America,” said Jaffray, who had missed most of the 2010-11 season while recovery from major knee surgery.

“If NHL is not an option, Europe becomes an option.”

Jaffray, who will turn 32 in June, admits that after 11 pro seasons in North America, relocating overseas would be a drastic change, especially as he and his wife Michelle have two young children.

“That’s the big question, because I don’t know what would happen family-wise and stuff like that,” he said.

“But I am considering everything.”