To say Winnipeg’s had injury problems over the last month would be putting it mildly.
The club has, at one time or another, been without the services of Bryan Little, Drew Stafford, Kyle Connor, Mathieu Perreault, Joel Armia and Shawn Matthias — which, for those of you that don’t like counting, is six regular forwards out of the rotation.
Which is why today was a good day in the ‘Peg.
The club activated Stafford off IR, and sent Quinton Howden to AHL Manitoba. Stafford, 31, has been out of the lineup since getting hurt in an Oct. 25 loss to Dallas, and has missed the last 15 games as a result.
Stafford’s return comes one day after Little — hurt in the season-opener against Carolina — returned to practice in a non-contact role. Connor also returned wearing a non-contact jersey, after sustaining an upper-body injury earlier this month.
The Jets will undoubtedly welcome any boost Stafford, Little or Connor can provide. After a nice stretch of play that saw them move to 9-7-2 on the year, they’ve flatlined lately, dropping three straight games while getting outscored 12-4 (and getting out-shot 100-73).
To put things in perspective, Winnipeg should be lauded for treading water thus far — don’t forget the club was also without Jacob Trouba, who made his season debut on Nov. 11. Head coach Paul Maurice has been forced into a constant juggling act with his lineup, and has dressed 18 different forwards already.
Winnipeg is back in action tonight, when it takes on Minnesota.