On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks officially announced a new, short-term affiliate program between the Canucks and the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
The loan agreement will see Vancouver using Winnipeg’s AHL farm club as its way of outsourcing players for conditioning stints or long-term placements in within Canada, as compared to the Canucks’ long-standing AHL affiliate, Utica Comets – also shared by the St. Louis Blues, and based out of New York.
“This agreement allows recalled players to observe a seven-day NHL-mandated quarantine rather than the 14-day federal quarantine they would be subject to if recalled from Utica,” Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning said. “It gives us more flexibility and greater access to an additional group of players. We appreciate the cooperation of the Jets and Moose in assisting us with this arrangement.”
Prior to the Winnipeg Jets returning to the National Hockey League in 2011, the Manitoba Moose were the prime hockey attraction within Winnipeg, and served as the pipeline for Vancouver Canucks prospects as the team’s farm club. Players such as Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Alex Edler, Michael Grabner and Kevin Bieksa spent significant time developing with the Moose in past years.
Alongside the news of the new partnership, the Canucks announced the loan of forward Tyler Graovac, defenceman Ashton Sautner and goaltender Arturs Silovs to Manitoba. With the 2020-21 AHL season targeting a February 5, 2021 return to play date, the Moose will face off against the Belleville Senators, the Laval Rocket and the Toronto Marlies in a four-team, all-Canadian division.
Graovac, 27, has suited up in 331 career AHL games, producing 87 goals, 184 points and 141 penalty minutes in eight years. He has also played 70 NHL games, earning non goals and 11 points.
Sautner 26, has skated in 240 AHL games, collecting 11 goals and 49 points. He had 12 points in 51 games last year, while also earning three assists in 23 career NHL games.
Silovs, 19, spent the 2019-20 season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, going 16-13-4 with a 3.87 goals against average and a .891 save percentage. He dressed for HS Riga and HK Mogo in Europe earlier this season.