The ramifications from Anton Stralman’s big hit on Winnipeg center Bryan Little are severe.
Little, who’s been out of the Jets lineup since getting crunched by Stralman last week, suffered a compression fractured vertebrae and will miss the remainder of the season, the club announced on Thursday.
In a related move, the Jets have recalled Matt Halischuk from AHL Manitoba.
Losing Little is the latest in what’s been a very difficult year for the Jets. The club has underachieved all season long and, barring a remarkable turn of events, will miss the playoffs after making it last year — for the first time since moving to Winnipeg from Atlanta.
Little, who found good chemistry on the club’s top line next to Blake Wheeler and potential outgoing captain Andrew Ladd, had scored 17 goals and 42 points through 57 games this year. Had he stayed healthy, Little was on pace to challenge the career-high 64 points he notched during the ’13-14 campaign.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice was livid with the Stralman hit, so he’s probably more irate having learned his top pivot is done for the year. After the Bolts game, Maurice went off:
Stralman wasn’t penalized on the play, and didn’t receive any supplemental discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.