Adam Pardy took a big pay cut, but says he got a huge boost in confidence when he signed a free-agent contract with the Winnipeg Jets over the weekend.
The 29-year-old Bonavista native agreed to a one-year, one-way deal with Winnipeg Saturday, meaning their is no minor-league component to his contract; his paycheque will be based on his $600,000 annual salary no matter where he plays.
That annual salary is far less than the $2 million a year he was earning under a free-agent deal he had signed with the Dallas Stars in 2011, one which carried over after a trade to the Buffalo Sabres a year ago. But Pardy says that in a market squeezed pretty tight by the salary cap, he is grateful to be able to achieve a one-way contract, even more so because of the opportunity presented by the Jets.
“The one-way takes some weight off my shoulders,” he said Sunday.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting to get a call from my agent Friday (when NHL teams could begin signing unrestricted free agents like Pardy) and I wasn’t even expecting one Saturday saying someone had made me a one-way offer..
“I thought I might have to wait a while for something like that. So to get this contract offer and get it that quickly meant a lot.”
The one-way deal makes it less likely the Jets — especially since they are a small-market team that’s careful with its budget — have designs to send him to the St. John’s IceCaps, their American Hockey League farm team, no matter his Newfoundland roots.
What's more, he would need to clear waivers to be assigned to the IceCaps.
Still, he knows he needs to prove himself earn a spot on a Jets’ roster that already features five signed blueliners and a couple of more who have been made qualifying offers as restricted free agents.
“But I don’t believe I’m a minor-leaguer. I don’t see myself as a minor-leaguer,” he insisted.
“And this contract, even though the money might be obviously disappointing, represents a big chance for me.
“I don’t think Winnipeg sees me as a minor-league player either or else I don’t think I would have received this kind of contract offer.
“Now it’s just a matter of me proving it.”
Another reason for Pardy’s increased confidence is the presence of Pascal Vincent on the Winnipeg coaching staff. Vincent, who looks after the Jets’ defence, was Pardy’s coach when he played with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles a decade ago.
“He’s someone who’s known me since I was 18, and knows what I’m about,” said Pardy. “It’s great knowing he’s going to be there.”
Pardy broke into the NHL with Calgary Flames in 2008, and has suited up in exactly 200 big-league contests with the Flames, Stars and Sabres, recording four goals, 29 assists and 171 penalty minutes. During last year's lockout-shortened NHL season, he appeared in 17 games with Buffalo, where he had four assists and 14 penalty minutes, and also played 21 games with the Rochester Americans, the Sabres' AHL farm team, for whom he had two goals, seven assists and 22 penalty minutes.
The six-four, 220-pound Pardy brings size and a lefthanded shot that is not abundant on the Jets' blueline . He should be in competition for work with rookie Jacob Trouba and former IceCaps Paul Postma, Arturs Kulda and Zach Redmond. The latter three are all restricted free agents who have been given qualifying offers by Winnipeg.
The Jets did announce the signing of three players Saturday who are more likely to play with St. John's, adding wingers Jerome Samson and Andrew Gordon, and bumping up centre John Albert from an AHL contract to an NHL contract.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Gordon and Samson are AHL veterans who have some NHL experience.
A 27-year-old From Porter's Lake, N.S., just outside Halifax, Gordon has played 55 NHL games with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks, including six games with Vancouver. He has three goals and four assists in the National Hockey League.
In 349 AHL games, the six-foot, 195-pound Gordon has 126 goals, 141 assists and a plus-77 rating. in 2009-10, The product of St. Cloud State university had 37 goals, 71 points, played in the AHL All-Star Game and helped lead the Hershey Bears to a Calder Cup championship.
His goal total that season tied him for second in the league, with Samson.
in fact, other than that he is a year younger, Samson's entire stats line very much mirrors that of Gordon. He is also a six-foot, 195-pound right-winger, who has been a proven AHL scorer with a number of NHL stints, all with the Carolina Hurricanes. Those call-ups to Carolina add up to 46 games in which he has scored two goals and seven assists.
A native of Greenfield Park, Que., who spent most of his major junior career with the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats, Samson has played in 356 AHL games with Carolina farm teams in Albany and Charlotte, amassing 133 goals and 147 assists. That includes five seasons with 20 or more goals.
Samson, who also plays centre, was a first-team AHL all-star in 2010. Gordon was a second-team choice the same year.
Despite modest numbers and some health woes, his work ethic and relentless checking have helped Albert, a five-foot 10' 185-pound left-shooting centre become a St. John's fan favourite in his two years with the IceCaps.
The 24-year-old Ohio native has 12 goals and 20 assists in 88 games with St. John's.