Bryan Little out Indefinitely, what does this mean for the Jets?

The Winnipeg Jets will be without Bryan Little for at least the immediate future as head coach Paul Maurice announced the Jets second line centre will be out with a lower body injury with no timetable set for his return.

This is a tough blow for not only the Winnipeg Jets, but especially for Little. Last night’s game marked Little’s first regular season game since he went down with a neck injury last February. Little has been one of the Jets most consistent players over the last five seasons and losing him in the top six is quite the loss, especially so early in the year. 

What do the Jets do now

While losing Bryan Little may hinder the Jets performance, Winnipeg is lucky they have such organizational depth, including many talented prospects across the hallway with the Manitoba Moose.

The Little injury likely means that the line of Kyle Connor, Mathieu Perreault and Patrik Laine will emerge in to the team’s second line and that leaves the team’s third line centre spot up for grabs. 

The logical move that will likely occur is having the Jets promote from within and bump up Adam Lowry to the 3rd line centre role. Lowry looked solid in the Jets season debut and this promotion could help him have the bounce back year that he needs. Alex Burmistrov also could sub in from the press box and man the fourth or third line centre role. 

But what about calling up Andrew Copp? 

Copp suited up for 77 games with the Jets last year but despite that he found himself becoming a training camp casualty and was sent to the Manitoba Moose to start out the season. Copp may not even get to suit up for the Moose to start the year out as the Jets may bring him back up to return to his role as the Jets fourth line centre. 

If the Jets promote Lowry to the team’s third line centre spot and are looking to call up someone for the fourth line spot, there is no better option than Andrew Copp. Copp’s defensively sound game along with his penalty killing and face-off ability fits nicely on the team’s fourth line. 

If the Jets want to reward a centre that impressed them during training camp, they could go with the non-traditional move of giving Nic Petan or Chase De Leo a shot in the big leagues. Both undersized forwards impressed during training camp and were knocking on the door for spots. With their simply being no room for either forward when training camp was being made, the Jets could elect to give one of them a shot now. 

Whomever the Jets re-call and whatever shuffling they do, when Little does return, he could shift over to right wing. Little played right wing for a majority of his time with the Atlanta Thrashers and with the Jets right wing depth not as strong, Little could return to the right wing if his understudy impresses. 

Most of this is speculation, but many possibilities are up in the air with the Little injury. 

What do you think the Jets should do? Let us know on twitter: @NHLJetsNation 

    • FishWhiskey

      @Fishwhiskey agreed, Copp did the job that he was asked to do throughout last season I knew he’d be back up but not happy that we lost Little for it to happen.

    • FishWhiskey

      That would not break my heart. Petan centring Connor and Laine? Pinch me, that could be fun!

      Copp played his ass off at camp and in the pre season. He is also the best face off guy the Jets have.

      I just feel that giving Burmi the start sends the wrong message to the prospects. Burmi did nothing that I could see through camp to deserve time on the big club over Copp or Petan.

      Putting Pavs on waivers and Burmi, Stu and Thorbs sitting out was, in my opinion, perhaps the best move the Jets ever made. It signalled the end of the “playing favourites” era.

      I just worry now that PoMo will bring Burmi back in because it was PoMo that stuck his neck out and talked Burmi into coming back from the KHL. PoMo gave Burmi second line equivalent minutes last year even though, statistically, Burmi barely performs as a fourth line player. If PoMo brings Burmi back over Copp or Petan then I will lose some respect for his judgement.

      I thought the third period of the Columbus game was a foreshadow of the team chemistry that comes from playing the guys who have earned their spots on the team. I really feel that letting any of the old dead wood regulars like Burmi back in the mix would be a bad move that would damage team morale.

    • FishWhiskey

      So, I’m just curious Doc. If you are Andrew Copp and the Jets give this break to Burmistrov, who is statistically inferior and had a poor camp compared to your own, how does that make you feel? What message does it send?

      Just for a little comparison.

      If Burmistrov has anything left to prove he should be doing it on the Moose. Why does he get all this preferential treatment and caudling when he has done nothing in his career to show that he is an NHL talent? He is a bad example of a privileged, selfish,”me first” hotdog that is a textbook specimen of the kind of player the Jets do not want their young prospects emulating.

      You and I seem to agree on a lot of things Doc but we seem to part ways on Burmi. To me he is part of the toxic mess inherited from Atlanta that included Pavs, Stu, Thorbs and Kane and the sooner that crew is gone the sooner the Jets will prosper.

      Anyway, pardon the passionate response brother but I would hate to see the great chemistry and character the team showed in the season opener spoiled by going back to the bad old days of playing management favourites over guys who have earned a spot.

      • Dr. Rocktopus

        Well Fish, I’m not saying I’d personally take Burmi over Copp (I’ve argued for Copp being the better choice over at AIH several times in the past). I’m more saying that since Burmi was the extra center man sitting in the PB when Little went down, I can understand why he would get a shot at the job before they call Copp (or Petan?) up. My point is that he better look good doing it, or else after another game or two, he ought to be back upstairs eating popcorn.

  • Eddie O rules!

    Burmi is the logical choice right now, since he has been at least practicing with the big club (for a bit at least). But like Doc says, if he can’t get it done they should be prepared to quickly switch to Copp or Petan. Personally I think they should have already called up one of those two so that even if they don’t go in the next game, they’re at least up running drills with potential line mates in practice.