Mid-Summer 7: Signing young studs Laine, Connor Winnipeg's top objective
Mason Appleton is eyeing a full-time role on the Winnipeg Jets this season after splitting last season between the AHL and NHL.
The 23-year-old winger told The Press Times in Wisconsin that his goal is to make the Jets out of training camp after appearing in 36 games a year ago.
"Every off-season is an opportunity to get better, take the next step and become a better player when you get back to camp," Appleton said. "Obviously, I'm excited to get back to camp, but there's still a month left of work. These next 30 days are going to be important for me.
"It's my goal to make the team out of camp, and that's what I'm working toward. If this doesn't happen, I can't pout and moan. I've got to be the best player I can be wherever I am – the rest will take care of itself."
Appleton scored three goals and posted 10 points in his 36 games with the Jets last season, averaging 8:12 of ice time per game. The right winger, who added 15 goals and 32 points in 40 games with the AHL's Manitoba Moose in 2018-19, is eyeing bottom-six role with the Jets this season.
"It's not too big of a role, but it's definitely a meaningful part of the team," he said. "Hopefully, I can establish myself as a good penalty killer and reliable forward at both ends of the ice. I need to gain the coach's trust and be the guy that can do whatever he needs in the lineup every night."
Appleton, a native of Green Bay, Wis., was a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2015.
"Come time for camp, everyone wants to steal everyone's job, so I'm going to be ready to do this," Appleton said. "I'll put my best foot forward and give it all I've got."