The trade deadline has come and gone and now business can return to normal. After trading captain Andrew Ladd to Chicago on Thursday, the Winnipeg Jets were quiet on deadline day, choosing to stand pat instead of making more moves to either improve their roster or draft position.
The Jets will play their first game post-deadline against the Florida Panthers at the MTS Centre. These two teams met back on February 20 with the Panthers emerging with a 3-1 victory.
This game will mark the home debut of Marko Dano who was acquired in the Andrew Ladd deal. Dano made his Jets premiere on Saturday in Pittsburgh where he joined Adam Lowry and Joel Armia on the third line.
It’s possible that Matt Halischuk could slide into the lineup in place of Anthony Peluso. Head coach Paul Maurice will make that decision closer to game time.
That empty spot in the lineup is due to the fact that Adam Pardy was claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. With Mark Stuart still recovering from his broken hand, the Jets are short on left-handed defenceman at this moment. Paul Postma is available but he, or either Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba or Dustin Byfuglien would have to play on their off side. The Jets could call someone up from the farm to fill in. 2013 first round pick Josh Morrissey is a possible candidate for a promotion but no decision as been made as of yet.
Neither Michael Hutchinson or Ondrej Pavelec have lit the world on fire lately. Hutch’s numbers (.910 save percentage) are slightly better in his last five games compared to Pavelec’s (.888 save percentage) but no one will confuse either goalie with Bernie Parent either. Maurice most likely announces the starter following the morning skate.
The Panthers will have new acquisitions Teddy Purcell and Jiri Hudler in the lineup. Purcell came over in a trade with Edmonton while Hudler was acquired in a deal with Calgary. Both are slated to be on a line with Nick Bjugstad but don’t rule out some line juggling from head coach Gerard Gallant.
The ageless Jaromir Jagr could be playing his final game in Winnipeg but it is Jaromir Jagr. He may play another 10 years if he feels like it.
Another newcomer in the Panther lineup is Jakub Kindl who the Panthers received in a trade with Detroit. Kindl brings some much needed depth to the Panthers defence corps as well as some playoff experience.
Aaron Ekblad is going to be a superstar in this league and the Panthers are lucky to have him. There has been no signs of a sophomore jinx in the 20-year-old rearguard who has registered 25 points (12G, 13A) in 58 games this season. He’s a player to watch.
Roberto Luongo is likely to get the start for the Panthers. Former Jet Al Montoya was injured on Sunday in Minnesota and is listed as day-to-day.
Florida GM Dale Tallon says on @NHLNetwork that Al Montoya is day to day and looks like he avoided any serious injury.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 29, 2016
The Panthers have recalled Mike McKenna on an emergency basis.
Game Day Prediction: The Panthers are having an excellent season and have a legitimate shot at winning the Atlantic Division and going on a nice playoff run. The Jets are in next year mode and are praying they win the lottery so they can draft Auston Matthews. Panthers win 3-1.
Obvious Prediction: Both the Panthers and Jets broadcasts will compare the weather between Winnipeg and South Florida. (It’s pretty cold in Winnipeg today.)
Not So Obvious Prediction: One of the new Panthers will get his first goal for his new team.