Fresh off being named the AHL’s most outstanding defenseman, Sami Niku could get his first taste of the NHL playoffs. The Winnipeg Jets have recalled the defenseman ahead of Game 4 tonight against the Minnesota Wild as they deal with an injury to Tyler Myers.
Niku, 21, has dominated in his first taste of North American professional hockey, registering 54 points in 76 AHL games and even scoring in his single NHL contest. The seventh-round pick is one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the minor leagues, and is set to make an impact in the NHL before long.
The Manitoba Moose start a playoff series on Saturday, which could be enough time for Myers to return so that Niku can go back down. The Jets are cautiously optimistic about their big defenseman, though there’s no clear return set. Even without Niku, the Moose are a powerhouse that could be capable of taking home the Calder Cup in the AHL, but will have to get through the defending champion Grand Rapids Griffins in the first round.