Last summer wasn’t a fun one for the Jets as salary cap issues resulted in several key veterans leaving the roster without much of a chance to retain or replace them. However, Dustin Byfuglien’s departure gives them a lot more cap room to work with and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff told reporters, including Postmedia’s Paul Friesen, that they will be looking to spend this offseason. With a little less than $66MM in commitments and no pending free agents that are in line for significant raises, Winnipeg will have enough flexibility to at least try to fill one of their two primary holes, a top-four defenseman, or a second line center with Bryan Little’s future in doubt. If Little can’t play, he’d be eligible for LTIR which could then open up some more short-term spending flexibility.
More from the Western Conference:
- While he’s not in the lineup today, Canucks defenseman Jordie Benn has cleared quarantine and is now available to suit up, notes Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province (Twitter link). The veteran left Vancouver during training camp to go to Texas for the birth of his child which means he would have had to produce four negative COVID-19 tests in as many days before rejoining the team. Benn had a limited role this season, logging just 16:19 per night, his lowest ATOI since 2015-16. However, if an injury strikes, he’s someone that could step onto the third pairing.
- Stars defenseman Stephen Johns remains unfit to play for tonight’s third game against Calgary, relays Sean Shapiro of The Athletic (Twitter link). His availability for Thursday’s contest was up in the air for a while with Taylor Fedun ultimately suiting up in his absence, though he played just over five minutes of ice time. There’s no word on how much longer Johns will miss.