During the first period of Friday night’s contest against the Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was injured on what seemed to be a rather innocent looking hit along the boards in the corner behind the Jets net. He skated off the ice favoring his right arm / shoulder.
He didn’t return to the game that night and the next morning after practice Paul Maurice revealed he was going to be out for “at least a month, maybe longer than that” in his post-practice meet up with the media.
It is yet another tough blow to the 28 year old defenseman who has spent the last two seasons dealing with a severe back injury that has kept him out of the lineups of both the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets for months at a time. He had one assist in six games played with the Jets this season after picking up 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 62 games played last season.
But from the ashes of an unfortunate injury, it might give everyone’s favorite young Finnish defenseman a chance to prove and stick with the main roster.
The Jets on Sunday morning called up Sami Niku from the AHL Manitoba Moose.
Niku in 12 games with the Moose this season has one goal and four assists. His lone goal of the season was a sight to see.
— Manitoba Moose (@ManitobaMoose) October 31, 2018
It’s doubtful Niku will see ice time tonight against New Jersey, but going forward it should be expected the Jets will want to play him on a regular basis as sitting a 22 year old in the press box for a handful of games at a time is hardly good development.