Remember David Aebischer?
The once-highly regarded Swiss goaltender has represented his country at pretty much every level internationally, from the World Juniors to the World Championships to the Olympics. Drafted by Colorado, he was the man the Avalanche turned to in net when Patrick Roy retired. For a while, he was a pretty good NHL goalie.
Of course, it is all too easy to forget about Aebischer. He hasn’t been seen in the NHL since 2007. He hasn’t been seen playing effectively in the NHL since prior to the lockout. Come this fall, however, he’ll be at an NHL training camp, with the Winnipeg Jets.
Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press has the details:
[T]he Jets confirm Aebischer will be in their training camp on a ‘try-out’ contract. Essentially, he is on loan from his club team in the Swiss league, Lugano, but is a real long-shot to unseat either Ondrej Pavelec or Chris Mason or even to be considered for a spot with the St. John’s IceCaps…
In all likelihood Aebischer will be headed back to Lugano. If he was to stick, the Jets would have to come to a financial agreement with the Swiss club to get him signed to an NHL deal.
It’s an interesting situation, particularly given (as Tait points out) that the NHL jobs with the Jets appear to be full and that the incumbents are unlikely to be pushed out.
The timing of this comeback attempt is even more interesting given Aebischer’s work in Switzerland the last few seasons. Aebischer’s save percentage has been on a fairly steady and not especially flattering arc since crossing the Atlantic.
Aebischer might be worth an NHL tryout if he’d posted a 0.885 SV% at the major league level, but doing that in Switzerland?
Of course, it might just be an off-year, but one expects an NHL-calibre goaltender having an off-year in Switzerland to still be pretty dominant. The odds are really good that Aebischer isn’t an NHL-calibre goaltender.
Still, tryout contracts are pretty much no-risk moves for the teams that make them, and it doesn’t sound like Aebischer is betting it all on getting a job in North America. This is more of a curiosity than a story likely to have any sort of impact on the 2011-12 NHL season.