Having already re-upped with Adam Pardy and Ben Chiarot this summer, the Jets retained another depth defenseman on Friday by giving Paul Postma a two-year, $1.775 million extension.
The deal, which carries an $887,500 cap hit, comes after Postma appeared in a career-high 42 games last year, averaging 14:08 TOI per night. The 26-year-old was a lineup regular for the first three months of the season, but phased out in the second half of the campaign due to healthy scratches and a lower-body injury.
This extension puts Postma firmly back in the mix, however, and it’s a crowded mix…
By my count, #NHLJets now have nine D on one-way deals, plus Jacob Trouba – a fixture who will be in Top-4 again this season
Right now, there are 10 blueliners in the fold: Pardy, Chiarot, Postma, Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Mark Stuart, Jay Harrison and Grant Clitsome, who is coming off back surgery. While it’s not surprising to see Winnipeg stockpile bodies — injuries ravaged the defense last year — it’ll be interesting to see if the Jets can carry this many contracts, or if a trade will eventually be orchestrated.
Worth mentioning the Jets also have touted prospect Josh Morrissey, the 13th overall pick in 2013, on the horizon.
For the second time this season, Winnipeg is suffering through a rash of injuries on defense.
Already without the services of Dustin Byfuglien (upper body), Ben Chiarot (hand) and Grant Clitsome (back), the Jets saw Tyler Myers go down to injury in last night’s loss to Florida and, today, were forced to recall Keaton Ellerby from AHL St. John’s.
Ellerby, 26, has yet to appear in a game for the Jets this season after playing 51 a year ago. The former Panther and King has dressed for 41 games with the IceCaps this season, scoring three goals and 16 points.
The Jets are reeling at the moment, having lost three of their last four, and it’s fair to suggest their disjointed blueline has played factor. With Myers now possibly out for Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, the club could be dressing a defense comprised of Tobias Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Jay Harrison, Adam Pardy, Mark Stuart and Paul Postma — hardly the idea unit for a team desperate to make the playoffs.
The second scrap of Ben Chiarot’s NHL career was a costly one.
Chiarot, who fought Daniel Winnik during Winnipeg’s 4-3 loss to Toronto on Saturday, busted his hand in the brawl and will miss the next six weeks after undergoing surgery, head coach Paul Maurice confirmed on Monday.
The 23-year-old rookie, called up during Winnipeg’s rash of defensive injuries in December, worked his way into the lineup and never left. He’s played 36 games since the recall, scoring two goals and eight points — eighth among rookie d-men this season — all while averaging over 16 minutes per night.
The six-week timetable for recovery means that Chiarot would be eligible to return in early-to-mid-April, which is right around the time the Jets conclude their regular season (last game is against Calgary on April 11.)
While Winnipeg will miss Chiarot’s contributions, it is well equipped to replace him. Both Jay Harrison and Paul Postma were healthy scratches against Toronto, and both are viable candidates to draw back in when the Jets host Dallas on Tuesday.