Not that we’re any closer to actual hockey being played – the NHL did recently extend their self-quarantine period until April 15 when it’s very likely they’ll have to extend it even more – but there are a couple of tidbits that concern the Winnipeg Jets roster when and if the 2019-20 season does resume… Hooray for actual hockey news!
Bryan Little could play if the season resumes this summer
Bryan Little has been out of action since November 5 when he took a deflected Nikloaj Ehlers shot to the side of the head which resulted in a laceration needing 20 stitches, a concussion, and punctured eardrum. About a month before the pause button was hit on the current season, Jets head coach Paul Maurice confirmed that Little was “out for the season”and it was more out of an abundance of caution as to not risk putting him back in game action before he fully recovered.
Of course, that was with the idea that the playoffs were going to start in April and end in June. Now with the potential of a mid-summer re-start, Paul Maurice told Tim Campbell of NHL.com that there is a chance Little could be back in a Jets uniform to help with a late season playoff push, stating “All things are possible, [but] I don’t have an answer yet.”
Little wouldn’t be the only Jet making a comeback from a seemingly season ending ailment as Mark Letestu had been sent on a conditioning stint with the AHL Manitoba Moose. The chances he would have been put back into the Jets lineup would have been much smaller that Little’s, but it was still remarkable to see from Letestu who was diagnosed with myocarditis early in the season and was also thought to be out for the rest of the year.
Dustin Byfuglien will be released, just not yet
If you were also holding on to the sliver of hope that a delayed end to the season could mean a miracle return of Dustin Byfuglien to the Winnipeg lineup (maybe it was just me hoping for that, who knows) then TSN and insider Darren Dreger spalshed cold water on that notion on Thursday.
During an edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Dreger went over the details of the season long issue between the Jets and Dustin. (The Byfuglien talk starts at about the 1:21 mark of the video)
Last we had seen, the Jets were prepared to release him, but were trying for a last ditch trade hail mary to try and not lose him with nothing in return. It didn’t work out and now the inevitable will happen… Eventually.
“Given current events, it’s not top priority for all involved,” Darren started off and went on to mention that “the players association, the league, the player and the Winnipeg Jets are all aligned on the termination agreement” but since it isn’t official yet there won’t be an announcement made by the Jets. Dreger also mentioned that the NHL and Jets will be getting together to discuss the details of the contract termination.