On the heels of being eliminated from NHL playoff contention, the Winnipeg Jets made a unique move Sunday, signing one-time Buffalo Sabres prospect Taro Tsujimoto to a Pro Tryout (PTO) contract.
Tsujimoto, still spry at the age of 55, tallied 2 goals and 3 assists in 70 games in the Japan Hockey League this past season, helping guide the Tokyo Katanas to their 3rd consecutive Sasuke Trophy.
“Mr. Tsujimoto is very pleased to be joining the Jets,” said his agent, Sloof Lirpa, in a conference call early this morning. “He is ready for the cold winter Winnipeg is facing right now.”
Tsujimoto first became known in North American hockey circles in 1974 when he was drafted by Sabres head honcho Punch Imlach in the 11th round of that season’s NHL Entry Draft. While Imlach was never able to bring Tsujimoto over to North American shores, he did make the Japanese sensation a household name among hockey’s most elite researchers.
Word around the locker room of the Jets spread quickly of Tsujimoto’s arrival. Rumours are running rampant that Tsujimoto will wear #25 for the new team, with Thomas Steen’s blessing.
When Tsujimoto hits the ice for the Jets, he will become the second oldest player to suit up for the Thrashers/Jets franchise, trailing only Chris Chelios.
Jon Waldman has written about hockey for several publications over his decade-long journalism career, including The Hockey News, The Toronto Sun and Winnipeg Men Magazine. A graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism program, Jon is working on his first book on the history of hockey, to go along with two other books he has published since 2009.