The recently acquired John Negrin presents the Jets with a low-risk, high-reward prospect. Picked up from the Flames for ECHL’er Akim Aliu, Negrin (22) has been hampered by injuries (knee, wrist, etc.) for most of his career but retains the tools to become an everyday NHL defender.
A well-rounded defender, Negrin has some offensive skill and can make a good first pass. Not noted for his shot, Negrin can nevertheless contribute to the power-play with his puck handling ability and on-ice vision. He is equally adept on the penalty kill, though he is prone to being outmuscled.
I recently had a conversation with a person familiar with the Abbotsford coaching staff, and they were all high on Negrin’s commitment to improve his game and his overall strength. They cited his lack of consistency as a key to what is holding him back, but also noted his development has been slowed by injuries. Given that defensemen take a little longer to ripen, Negrin may yet turn into an everyday defender for the Jets.
The Negrin acquisition should be noted as positive asset management by the Jets front office. They turned a depth forward into a potential roster defenseman without negatively affecting their development teams. Eventually, moves like this turn good teams into contending teams. This is not to say that Negrin is a sure thing, but his odds of making a positive impact to the Jets roster is higher than what Aliu could offer.
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