The Winnipeg Jets could be without Mathieu Perreault for the duration of the regular season. Perreault has been an impact player for the Jets, so it follow logically that his injury could have a significant impact on the Jets’ playoff hopes.
Can the Jets ride out the storm? What should we expect?
Perreault has been a great player for the Winnipeg Jets. He has arguably been the best value pick up of the 2014 free-agent class.
For 5-on-5 minutes Perreault carries the Jets second highest score-adjusted Corsi (SAC) percentage with 56.3 percent and second highest impact with a relCorsi rating of +3.4. His even strength production per minute out paces all Jets aside from the top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler. Perreault’s eleven points while quarterbacking the top power play unit with Dustin Byfuglien will also be severely missed.
Perreault’s injury leaves the Jets with 11 regular forwards, and this number may drop to 10 depending on the health status of Drew Stafford. Early reports have Matt Halischuk unlikely to return until early March.
Dustin Byfuglien always remains an option, although it’s far from optimal.
The defender has been nominated as an All-Star every season he has played the position (and there has been a game). At forward Byfuglien performs well in front of the net or protecting the puck down low, but otherwise struggles. As a defender, he’s posted a 54.3 SAC percentage, while he’s been at 48.9 as a forward. This doesn’t include the domino effect with Jets’ defenders taking tougher minutes without Byfuglien. Still, Byfuglien may serve better than some replacement level forwards.
There could also be help coming from the farm.
The Jets called up Carl Klingberg while announcing Perreault’s placement on IR.
Klingberg has played nine games as a Winnipeg Jet over his professional career. As a Jet he has a goal, eleven individual scoring chances, and a 59.2 score-adjusted Corsi percentage, although this has been while playing six minutes a game in exceedingly sheltered circumstances.
The 24-year-old Swede has been one of the IceCaps better performers over the past while. The last two seasons he has been St. John’s most effective even strength goal scorer and shot producer. In 116 games Klingberg has amassed 37 goals, 35 assists, and 330 shots.
NHL equivalent translations estimates this production to be typical of a 23 point forward. This is likely an overestimation though as Klingberg is unlikely to see any power play time. Although, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that Klingberg could be an upgrade on current third line winger Chris Thorburn.
If Stafford gets cleared to play, expect to see a the following Jets’ forward line up:
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Michael Frolik – Mark Scheifele – Drew Stafford
Chris Thorburn – Adam Lowry – T.J. Galiardi
Carl Klingberg – Jim Slater – Anthony Peluso
However, if Stafford is not clear, Byfuglien will fill in at right wing.
Perreault’s injury hurts the team, a lot. The Jets can still make the playoffs but they will be hard pressed to ride out the storm. The injury may have increased incentives enough to convince Kevin Cheveldayoff to trade away someone like Paul Postma or futures for an immediate stopgap help.
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