Evander Kane was suspended for two games for his hit from behind on Clayton Stoner. The loss comes at a difficult time for the Jets. Not only are they facing two Divisional opponents in those games, but injuries to Enstrom, Bogosian, and Clitsome have forced Byfuglien back on defence and thinned out an already shallow roster.
The structure offered by Paul Maurice has made it possible for less talented or less experienced players to keep up and contribute at the NHL level. A team that once drowned with players like Halischuk or Postma on the ice is now able to stay competitive with tighter gaps and more conviction in their defence.
Still, the league’s 28th ranked offence is losing a natural scorer, a physical forechecker, and a speedy presence on the wing. What will it mean for the Jets?
Evander Kane has already missed time this season – going down with injury in just the first game of the season and missing most of October. In games Kane didn’t play, the Jets went 3-5-0, including an ugly 4 game skid immediately following the injury.
Of course, that means the team has been 11-4-5 with Kane in the lineup. It’s a stark difference in points percentage: 67.5% with Kane; 37.5% without the star.
As we discussed in the weekly preview, this week holds the potential for 4 points against the struggling Stars and Avs, and those 4 points are sorely needed with a stretch of Chicago, Minnesota, Minnesota, and Long Island looming at the end of the month.
What will the lines look like?
The Jets have called up Patrice Cormier to fill in, giving the team its preferred complement of 13 forwards. TJ Galiardi has still not drawn in since being waived, but remains with the team. Cormier has established himself as a seldom used 4th liner, averaging under 5 minutes a night on previous call-ups. It’s a toss up as to which forward will get the call. More worrying is who moves into the top-9, as none of the 5 options (Thor, Peluso, Slater, or the two above) seem well suited.
We can expect the team to continue their defensive grind, and hope that it’s enough to contain the explosive top talent of the Stars and Avs.
Jets fans – who should get top-9 minutes? Will Maurice just roll eight forwards? Is Patrice Cormier the right call up?