The fight to see a playoffs game in Winnipeg for the first time since 1996 just got harder.
28-year-old defenseman Tobias Enstrom hasn’t played since Tuesday due to a mid-body injury that’s believed to be related to his back. He was initially classified as day-to-day, but now it’s being described as a week-to-week issue, according to the Winnipeg Sun.
Given that the Jets only have about a week and a half until their last game, it’s safe to say that Enstrom might not be back until the postseason. Assuming of course that the Jets can even find a way to secure a playoff spot.
“You’ve got your guys and I don’t deal with what I don’t have, you know that,” said Jets coach Claude Noel. “We’ve got a lot of options, a fair amount of guys, 10 defensemen and 11 with Toby.”
Fair enough, but Enstrom isn’t just any defenseman. He’s reached the 50-point mark in separate campaigns and has a career average of 23:29 minutes per contest.
At the same time, he’s had trouble staying healthy over the last couple of seasons. He suffered a broken collar bone in 2011-12 and missed time earlier this season with a shoulder injury.
Winnipeg has just six games left in its schedule and is two points behind the eighth place New York Rangers. To make matters worse, the Rangers have played in one less contest.
The Jets next two games will be at home against teams that no longer have a realistic shot of making the playoffs: the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. Anything short of winning both of those matches would be a big blow to the Jets’ chances of advancing to the postseason.