Jets’ Roster Spot Will be a Tough Battle for Trevor Lewis

The Winnipeg Jets revealed their 2020-21 training camp roster on New Year’s Day ahead of their truncated training camp and the 56-game season beginning Jan. 13.

While there was little in the way of personnel surprises, one player that stands out is Trevor Lewis, who was signed to a professional tryout (PTO) agreement.

Who is Trevor Lewis?

Lewis, a right-handed centre, is a veteran of 674-career NHL games. Selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, he spent his entire career thus far with that organization.

Trevor Lewis Los Angeles Kings
Trevor Lewis is a veteran centre who has spent his entire career to this point with the Los Angeles Kings. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Lewis, 33, has recorded 70 goals and 93 assists for 163 points over 12 NHL seasons. In 2019-20 — the final season of a four-year deal that saw him paid $2 million annually — he recorded up six goals and six assists in 56 games.

The Salt Lake City-born product was part of the Kings’ 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup-winning squads. In 79 career playoff games, he has 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points.

How Could Lewis Help the Jets?

A Sports Forecaster scouting report describes Lewis a player who doesn’t have high-level offensive instincts but possesses a number of other potentially-valuable assets. It reads:

“Has good speed and two-way instincts. Can line up on either wing or at center in the big league… Works very hard. Provides energy, kills penalties and blocks shots.”

Sports Forecaster on Trevor Lewis

Any player who can bolster the Jets’ penalty kill and overall defense is potentially useful. Last season, the Jets’ PK was 22nd in the NHL and killed off just 77.6 per cent of their infractions. The team as a whole allowed far too many high-danger chances and relied too much on goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who deservedly won the Vezina Trophy, to bail them out.

Will Lewis Make the Team?

The road to a spot on the Jets’ opening-night roster will be tough one to travel for Lewis.

There are already a number of players vying for precious slots on the bottom-six. Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp are locks, and both are centres. However, they have played together in the past with Copp switching to wing.

Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins, both coming off their entry-level deals, are strong contenders to make the opening-night lineup as well.

Related: Jets’ 2020-21 Training Camp Storylines

Mathieu Perreault is also probable to be there simply based on his contract — it would look bad on the organization to have a player making $4.125 million sitting in the press box.

Los Angeles Kings Trevor Lewis and Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty
The path to an NHL contract and starting role with the Jets will be tough for Lewis. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

That leaves only one open slot, which Lewis will have to battle Joona Luoto, Cole Perfetti, Nate Thompson, Dominic Toninato, and Kristian Vesalainen for. David Gustafsson would have also battled for a role but he’s currently recovering from an injury he suffered during his overseas loan with Tingsryds AIF and won’t be available for the start of came.

Players on PTOs, in general, are in tough. A critical analysis found that between 2015 and 2018-19, just 11.11 per cent of players on PTOs actually signed NHL contracts. The numbers are not on Lewis’ side.

Related: Jets Have Good Options for an Extended 2020-21 Roster

However, he is certainly worth taking a look at. The Jets have nothing to lose by bringing him to training camp and seeing what he can offer them as they prepare for the all-Canadian North Division slugfests to come.