It took so long because of the swelling in his face, but Paul Maurice has finally given an update on injured defenseman Toby Enstrom. The Winnipeg Jets head coach reports that he’s out indefinitely with a concussion after sustaining a blow from behind by the Penguins’ Tom Sestito. Sestito was suspended four games for the hit, which caused Enstrom to go straight to the hospital with expected facial fractures. Sara Orlesky of TSN reports that there are no fractures, actually good news for the Winnipeg defenseman.
With Tyler Myers still out, and Josh Morrisey banged up and missing practice—though the latter is still expected to play—the Jets’ usually deep defense corps is dwindling by the day. Enstrom has logged close to 22 minutes a night for Winnipeg this season, which will now have to be spread out mostly to Morrisey and Ben Chiarot. Enstrom’s regular partner Dustin Byfuglien already logs the most minutes in the NHL at 27:23 per game, and will now be relied on even more if the Jets still have playoff aspirations.
In a year where the Western Conference is actually wide open, the Jets remain just five points out of the final playoff spot. They have, however, played three more games than the St. Louis Blues, the team currently occupying that final wildcard position. The Jets will need some sort of streak over their last 14 games to both catch St. Louis and fend off the Los Angeles Kings, something that they haven’t proved capable of this year. At 30-32-6, it looks like not even Patrik Laine’s emergence and Mark Scheifele’s climb to the top of the center ranks can help them in 2017.