The Jets haven’t had much luck with health in their final stretch drive.
Paul Maurice announced that Dustin Byfuglien is likely out for 2-4 weeks and Bryan Little will likely miss about half of the Jets upcoming 4 game road trip:
Dustin Byfuglien will be out 2-4 weeks. Bryan Little will travel but is not expected to play on the front part of the 4-game trip. #NHLJets
— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) March 6, 2015
Byfuglien came off a check weird in a game against the Ottawa Senators. He left the ice, unable to hold his stick with both hands. Little had admitted to playing much of the season with minor bumps and bruises. It is possible that one of these has flared up more and has been instructed to rest.
While fans tend to over exaggerate the impact of player loss, this is a big deal for the Jets.
Dustin Byfuglien impact on the Jets since moving to defense has been huge. The defender has been nominated to the All-Star game every possible season where he has also played defense. Luckily, with the Jets right-handed depth, Byfuglien is likely the one position the Jets can take a hit. Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers will be leaned on a bit more.
The injury of Bryan Little though could hurt. Little has long been the Jets most underrated and consistent player. Little is usually the player to line up against the other team’s top lines and he does it while scoring over a 2.0 point per sixty minutes pace. While Jets alternatives Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry have been performing exceptionally well in the shot metrics department, Bryan Little has been the Jets sole point effective point scoring centre for 5v5.
Extra: Jets usage for centres and right-shooting defensemen
(Courtesy of War-On-Ice)
These graphs show how certain players are deployed.
Further right means more starts in the offensive zone, while further left means more starts in the defensive zone. Higher means more minutes with the Jets top lines, while further down means more minutes with the Jets bottom lines. The size of the circle represents ice time per game. The colour shows the Jets Corsi percentage with the player on the ice versus when on the bench, with blue being better than red.