The Winnipeg Jets recalled top prospect Sami Niku this weekend as a replacement for the injured Dmitry Kulikov, and he might get a longer than expected opportunity in the NHL. Kulikov has been moved to injured reserve and is out for at least four weeks according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. The veteran defenseman suffered an upper-body injury, and will now have to fight his way back on the roster in a month’s time.
Kulikov had appeared in just six games this season for the Jets, averaging fewer than 11 minutes per game. That’s a far cry from the expectations placed on him when he signed a three-year $13MM deal in the summer of 2017, one that has not aged well given the rest of the big contracts Winnipeg needs to give out. The team has plenty of cap space at the moment, but will need to hand out deals to Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Jacob Trouba and several other restricted free agents this summer.
- Brett Pesce’s absence at Carolina Hurricanes practice may have set off some alarm bells given the recent speculation about the team’s interest in William Nylander, but Michael Smith of NHL.com reports the defenseman is working through a minor lower-body injury. Pesce won’t play tonight for the Hurricanes, but is listed as just day-to-day for now.
- Meanwhile in Dallas, Stars’ defenseman Connor Carrick will miss at least three more weeks with his lower-body injury according to broadcaster Bruce LeVine. The Stars are without John Klingberg as well, leaving a lot of the puck-moving responsibility to young defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Julius Honka. Carrick has four points in nine games for the Stars since being acquired just prior to the beginning of the season. Importantly, that trade included a condition that would change the seventh round pick to a sixth round pick for Toronto if Carrick plays in 50 games. An injury like this puts that 50 game threshold very much in doubt.
- Viktor Arvidsson had just returned from a stint on injured reserve, but is headed back to the shelf after leaving the Nashville Predators recent game against Dallas. Arvidsson has been placed on injured reserve once again, meaning he’ll miss at least a week with his upper-body injury.