Remember how wonderful things were looking on the blue line about a week ago? Zach Bogosian was back, Byfuglien was healthy, Redmond was looking spectacular, and it looked like the Jets had pieces to move in their search for another man up front.
Flash forward a mere 7 days and suddenly the Jets have turned to Julian Melchiori for backup as the injury bug has invaded the Winnipeg locker room.
It all began last Friday night with Pittsburgh in town. The blue line was almost becoming overloaded with bodies; before the then league’s highest scoring defensemen in Tobias Enstrom went down with a shoulder injury that has him out ‘week-to-week’ without a return date in site. Then Thursday morning in Carolina a truly horrifying incident occurred. Antti Miettinen accidentally stepped on Zach Redmond during a drill, severing his femoral artery and vein sending him immediately into a 3 hour surgery. A type of injury that is going to take a long time to recover from, thus most likely ending his season.
As I mentioned above, Julian Melchiori was recently called up to fill a roster spot, but it is still unknown whether or not he is going to see any game time. With Derek Meech out of the St. John’s lineup to recover from a concussion, Melchiori was the reported next guy up as the first year AHLer has done his part with the Ice Caps thus far this season. He isn’t exactly an offensive powerhouse (only 4 assists in 33 games this year), but he is only a -3 on a team that has allowed almost 40 more goals than they have scored. There is no rush to get him on the ice yet but Clitsome hasn’t exactly been spectacular as of late, so at some point he may provide a good shake up to the bottom defensive pairings.
What do the Jets do from here?
It would truly be spectacular if Redmond comes back this year and nobody really knows how long Enstrom will be out, so the Jets need to do something in anticipation of another injury. Seeing as how NHL caliber defensemen don’t grow on trees, the trading block may be the place to go. The franchise will not give away draft picks at this point in time and they certainly will not take on a ridiculous contract. Nor are they going to simply give away any of the young forwards that this team needs to add to, not necessarily subtract from.
That being said, Wheeler, Little, and Burmistrov are all approaching restricted free agency, and a team looking to add to their scoring may be willing to give up a defensemen with value for a skilled player up front. For those of you not willing to come to terms with losing one of those big three, a team looking for size might look at Jokinen, who hasn’t exactly flourished with the Jets going pointless in the last 9 games.
It’ll come down to the price and who becomes available over the next week or two, but it may not be smart to rely on Postma developing faster then he currently is and to expect Redmond to come back and produce at the same level he had been before getting hurt.
What do you think? Leave a comment below about whom you think the Jets should go after and who you would be willing to give up. Just remember: to get quality, you have to give up quality.