The Winnipeg Jets made headlines on Friday as they released Brad Lambert from their preseason roster to the Manitoba Moose.
This was interesting news considering the eighteen-year-old unsigned draft pick was playing well in his first NHL preseason.
The one noticeable point was that in Lambert’s third preseason game, against the Calgary Flames who fielded an NHL-type roster, the 2020 first-round pick was held quiet versus high-quality opposition.
The Winnipeg Jets may have Brad Lambert on a similar development plan as Cole Perfetti
Cole Perfetti has had an interesting path to the Winnipeg Jets. In 2019-2020, he was having an incredible year in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit, where he had 111 points, but unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHL season was canceled.
He was then drafted tenth overall by the Jets during the 2020 entry draft. Most believed Perfetti would probably spend the next season back in junior, but the 2020-2021 OHL season also got canceled. Therefore, the Jets brought Perfetti into the organization rather than having their top prospect sit out of the season at a crucial stage in his development.
Perfetti played the whole 2021 season with the Manitoba Moose and was one of the stars of the team. In his first AHL season, against tougher competition compared to the OHL, Perfetti finished second on the Moose in points with 26.
He then made the Jets out of training camp for the 2021-2022 season and played in the Jets’ first two games of the season before being sent down to the Moose. Then in January, Perfetti was called back up to the Jets and appeared in 16 more games. Perfetti then got hurt in February and missed the remainder of the regular season.
In total, last season, Perfetti played 18 games with the Jets and scored two goals, added five assists, and finished with a plus-one plus/minus. He also appeared in 17 AHL games with the Moose and had six goals, nine assists, and a plus-six plus/minus.
Now coming into this upcoming season, Perfetti looks to be a mainstay in the Jets’ lineup and may play a role on the powerplay.
The Winnipeg Jets may have the same development plan for Brad Lambert
A season at the AHL level may be the best for Lambert’s development. The eighteen-year-old comes to the Jets franchise after playing in Liiga in Finland.
There could be an adjustment period for Lambert as he returns to the North American game. Starting in the AHL in a bigger role, which will give him the opportunity to get plenty of time on the puck, may be best for his development rather than playing a minimal role with the Jets.
This is what happened with Perfetti and even happened at the beginning of last season. In Perfetti’s first two NHL games, he averaged less than ten minutes of time on ice per game. Rather than playing minimal minutes with the Jets in a bottom-six role, Perfetti was given an important role with the Moose and was one of their top players and he played in all situations.
The Jets may do the same with Lambert and have him get some high-quality minutes at the AHL level before calling him up.
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Both the Jets and the Moose will kick off their 2022-2023 regular seasons next weekend. On Friday, the Jets will host the New York Rangers at the Canada Life Centre, and on Saturday the Moose will begin their season with a two-game homestand against the Rockford IceHogs.
Winnipeg Jets Fans: When do you predict Brad Lambert will make his NHL debut? Leave your comments below!