Looks like Kevin Cheveldayoff might soon be back at the trade table.
Just one week after orchestrating the Evander Kane blockbuster, the Jets GM could be forced to make more moves after Wednesday’s news that forward Mathieu Perreault would likely be done for the remainder of the regular season with a “significant” lower-body injury, while Drew Stafford — who came over in the Kane deal — is day-to-day.
The Perreault loss is big. He sits third on the team in goals, with 18, gets time on the first-unit power play and averages 16:38 TOI per game. The 27-year-old also seemed on his way to surpassing his career high in points — 43, set last year in Anaheim — and provided center depth for a Jets team that’s not overly strong down the middle, and now boasts Brian Little and 21-year-old Mark Scheifele as its top-two centers.
Stafford, meanwhile, got derailed before ever really getting started.
The longtime Sabre was hurt in just his third game as a Jet, and his loss is significant as well. Between Stafford, Perreault and Kane, the Jets have lost depth and goalscoring ability at forward and will now be forced to return Dustin Byfuglien to the wing, even though the All-Star defenseman has repeatedly expressed his desire to stick on the blueline.
(Byfuglien’s move to forward will coincide with the length of time Stafford is out, per multiple reports.)
In a related move, the Jets have called up Carl Klingberg from AHL St. John’s. The Swedish winger has 10 games of NHL experience under his belt, but has yet to make his season debut.
Tonight in Nashville, Tyler Myers is expected to begin his Winnipeg Jets career on a defensive pairing with veteran puck-mover Tobias Enstrom.
Myers, traded yesterday from Buffalo, is unlikely to log the 25 or so minutes he typically did with the Sabres. That won’t be necessary with two other capable pairings in Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien with Ben Chiarot and Mark Stuart with Jacob Trouba.
In Buffalo, Myers skated mostly with Josh Gorges. Not only did those two play big minutes and face the toughest competition on a nightly basis, over 40 percent of the faceoffs they were on the ice for took place in the defensive zone.
That’s no formula for good offensive numbers, and Myers was proof, with just four goals and nine assists in 47 games.
Not that he hasn’t struggled in recent seasons; Myers is no pure victim of circumstance. But Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff believes the 25-year-old’s career can be rejuvenated if provided a better chance to succeed, in a role that’s not beyond his capabilities.
“Tyler’s got a tremendous foundation,” said Cheveldayoff. “He’s big. He can shoot. He’s going to have an opportunity to play with a deeper defense corps. He can log a lot of minutes.
“Sometimes, in this game, fresh starts are really welcome for players that have lots of expectations heaped on them, and lots of hype as young players. Because it is a hard game to play as a young player and even harder as a young defenseman.”
As for winger Drew Stafford, the other roster player the Jets picked up in the Evander Kane trade, he’ll start on a line with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault, two talented forwards enjoying fine seasons.
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