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Utah’s Only NHL Player Trevor Lewis Signs With Winnipeg Jets, Despite Non-Player Offer From Kings

Trevor Lewis #22 of the Los Angeles Kings skates with the puck during the third period of the game against the Calgary Flames at STAPLES Center on April 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When the NHL takes the ice on January 13 for the first games of the 2020-2021 season, a lot of things will be different. One being Utah’s own Trevor Lewis will be in a Winnipeg Jets jersey.

Other changes include a shortened season and Zdeno Chara in a Washington Capitals jersey.

Trevor Lewis Signs With Winnipeg Jets

This morning, Lewis signed a PTO with the Winnipeg Jets.

It’s been a crazy ride for Utah hockey fans that started paying attention in the 2006 draft when the LA Kings picked a relatively unknown, Salt Lake born player from the Des Moines Buccaneers with their first-round pick (No. 17 overall). As Trevor worked his way from the minors in Manchester to the NHL, more and more Kings jerseys were spotted around Utah.

In the beginning of his career, Trevor struggled, as many rookies do, to stay in the lineup. There were times he was a healthy scratch and was rumored to be on the trade block; 674 games later, Trevor will forever be known as one of the key role players in the Kings’ two Stanley cups.  Trevor shared both of his days with The Stanley Cup with Utah, and the majority of the state became Kings fans.

Journey To Winnipeg

The problem with fandom is that pro sports is a business.

Early in this offseason, the Kings announced that they were rebuilding and would not be offering Lewis a new contract, so many Utahns were left wondering, “Am I still a Kings Fan without Lewis in the lineup?”

There are still two Utah born players in the Kings system; both Daniel Brickley and Nick Halloran are set to start the season with the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

However, being able to watch Trevor Lewis and the Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings grow up together and feeling like we almost knew those players because we knew Trevor was special. Watching Trevor hand the Stanley Cup to his father, Randy, on national TV, who has been a constant presence in Cottonwood Heights for the past 40 years, was more than special. It was a connection with the NHL and the Stanley Cup that most Utah born players never even dreamed of.

As the offseason grew longer and the top 10 free agents remained unsigned, Trevor’s name was mentioned in multiple articles, with teams being interested. Toronto was last week, Carolina, Colorado and Vegas were all mentioned as well.

Teams have learned that a player, scratch that, a person like Trevor is an important piece of the puzzle if you plan on going deep in the playoffs, and a necessity to win the cup. You need a player that will go into those corners, fight for every puck, kill penalties, get a couple of those “blue-collar” goals. You need the person that has that work ethic and leadership in the locker room.

Trevor Lewis Is What The Winnipeg Jets Need

It was clear the team Lewis ended up with would be a contender for the Stanley Cup. Some fans were rooting for Vegas or Colorado, because it would be close to home for fans to watch Lewis. The Jets make sense for him.

Though the Jets currently have 10 players listed as center on their roster (including Jansen Harkins, son of former Salt Lake Golden Eagle Todd Harkins) they are missing a guy “that’s been there before” to help lead their super talented lineup. Expect to see Trevor play around 15 minutes a night, as a utility player, similar to what he had been doing for the Kings.

Don’t let the PTO contract fool you, this seems to be the way for the new NHL and the uncertain roster the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us.

“I just wanted an opportunity to play for a great team again” Lewis told KSL Sports’ Jay Stevens, speaking to the fact that he will again be on a team that is expected to contend for the cup.

Lewis starts his quarantine for the team today and then will start camp with the team as soon as he is cleared.

The upcoming NHL season is still so unclear, only time will tell how many of us are truly Kings fans. I know I have enough Kings shirts, socks, and now, even a mask to wear something Kings every day for a couple of weeks without doing laundry.

I also know that I will be buying some Jets gear. I may not know if I am truly a Kings fan, but I do know that I will always be a fan of Trevor Lewis.

You can follow all of the updates on Trevor Lewis’ career with Jay Stevens on the Utah Puck Report.