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.