© — Photo by The Associated Press
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Adam Pardy (2) checks Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) during a game earlier this season in Detroit. The Bonavista native, now in his ninth year of pro hockey, has been putting up solid minutes in a defensive support role with the Jets this season. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff says Pardy “plays a very simple, efficient game.”
Bonavista’s other NHLer brings steady, supportive effort to Winnipeg Jets’ blueline
Adam Pardy has always been a hockey player who flies under the radar, an ‘Oh yeah, that guy!’ type.
The sixth Newfoundlander in the National Hockey League. The ‘other guy’ from Bonavista.
But here’s the skinny on the Winnipeg Jets’ player: Pardy is a dependable No. 5 or 6 defenceman, a big body (6-4, 220) who is still young (29), will log up to 15 minutes of ice and won’t get you into trouble. And he comes cheap (he’s making $600,000 with the Jets this season).
So in many ways, Adam Pardy is a valuable commodity.
“He can play the game the way the game is played now,” Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was saying about Pardy during the recent AHL all-star break.
“He’s got size, he’s got reach, he can skate and he can make a great first pass. He’s big enough and smart enough to kill penalties and because he’s a fit player, he can log minutes.
“When we signed him, it was a depth situation thing (stocking the system with defenceman). Turns out it was a very good move for us.”
This is Pardy’s ninth year as a pro, and the Jets are his fourth NHL organization after stops with Calgary, (which selected him in the sixth round, 173rd overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft), Dallas and Buffalo.
As the Jets resume play following the Olympic break, Pardy has 238 career NHL games to his credit, with four goals and 38 points.
Not bad for a guy who once was told he wasn’t good enough to play junior hockey, let alone pro.
Since landing in Winnipeg, Pardy has been a mainstay for the Jets. There was a stretch when he sat for eight straight games, returned to the lineup for seven and then was scratched for another four straight
Other than that, he’s been playing a solid support role behind defensive minute-munchers Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba.
But the season certainly didn’t start out promising.
After sitting the first couple of games of the new NHL season, Pardy got the news he hadn’t been looking forward to — he was getting shipped to St. John’s of the American league.
Granted, St. John’s is home in the off-season, but Pardy had been hoping to remain in the NHL. He split last season between Buffalo and Rochester of the AHL, the first time in four years he’s played a game in the minors.
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After clearing waivers, Pardy started three games for the IceCaps, and then his fortunes changed. Trouba got hurt, Pardy was recalled and he’s been in Winnipeg ever since.
“At the start of the year, it was looking pretty bad and mentally it was tough to deal with,” he says. “Sitting and watching games for weeks, and then getting thrown in and having to be sharp is tough, and you don’t want to make any mistakes.
“Sometimes you’re trying to do too much out there because you don’t know if they will keep you in the lineup. In my case, less is more.”
“He plays a very simple, efficient game,” the Winnipeg GM says. “When things don’t go well for him is when he tries to go outside his boundary.
“When he stays within the boundary of a very smart, economical game, he’s a real perfect fit for us.”
Pardy will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and chances are some team — if it’s not Winnipeg — will be willing to invest a couple of years into a steady, if not unspectacular, veteran rearguard.
“What’s gotten me to the NHL is simply a lot of hard work and some lucky breaks along the way,” he said. “It hasn’t been a smooth road by no means.
“And being told I wasn't good enough to play junior hockey makes you want to prove everyone wrong. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs throughout my career and a lot of days where it would have been easy to walk away from the game.
“But it’s not easy to walk away from something you love and something you’ve worked so hard for.”
Pardy won’t have to worry about that for a while.
Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor.
He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort