Ben Maxwell, 23, C, 6'1, 195 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #20 Difference: N/A
A former second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, 49th overall in 2006, Ben Maxwell finally was freed of the Canadiens organization last year in a deal that sent him and Brett Festerling to Atlanta for Brent Sopel and Nigel Dawes.
After a solid, average junior career with the Kootenay Ice from 2004-05 to 2007-08, Maxwell spent three seasons with the Canadiens AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs, scoring over 40 points in each of those season. He was able to suit up in 20 games for the Canadiens, but could not manage to move up the depth chart.
Maxwell came over later in the season, at the trade deadline, and spent two games with the Chicago Wolves before appearing in 12 games for the Thrashers, collecting two points, nine penalty minutes, and a minus seven rating.
Known as a two-way centre in his junior career, where he battled injuries in his last two seasons, Maxwell could be, if he reaches his potential, a good third-line checking centreman.
In junior, Maxwell collected 159 points in 210 games, with a career year in 2005-06, where he scored 60 points (28 goals, 32 assists).
In his three years in Hamilton, Maxwell scored 142 points in 177 games, including his best season in his rookie AHL season in 2008-09, collecting 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 73 games.
For Maxwell, this season could be his final breakthrough season. The Jets are relatively weak in the depth chart at centre as he is behind Nik Antropov and Alex Burmistrov. He will be battling both Patrice Cormier and Tim Stapleton for the final two centre jobs, and possibly one of them may have to switch to the wing to make the lineup.
This is Maxwell's first real chance to cracking an NHL lineup full time in his career, and here's hoping his time spent in the AHL was well worth it.
An RFA this upcoming off-season, Maxwell