The Winnipeg Jets could get quite the emotional boost tonight, as captain Blake Wheeler is expected to play in his 1,000th career NHL game Sunday at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winnipeg is just 4-5-1 in their last ten games and has fallen out of playoff position in the Western Conference, but they’re carrying some momentum after a chaotic 8-4 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday. The Leafs, however, enter the game without the services of Mitch Marner for a second straight game and are on the second half of a back-to-back. Saturday night saw them erase a 3-0 second-period deficit against the Minnesota Wild but only took home one point with a 4-3 shootout loss. It’s an important game for the Jets and Wheeler, who’s yet to score a goal this season and has just 10 assists in 18 games. It’s a slow start for the normally consistent Wheeler, who’s had at least 15 goals in every season of his 14-year career. He enters his 1,000th game with 279 goals and 538 assists for 817 points.
Some more snapshots from around the NHL on this Sunday morning:
- Coming in at No. 5 on The Fourth Period’s Trade Watch List 2021-22 is Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin. Over the weekend, multiple reports appeared suggesting the Stars were actively trying to find a trade partner for the 35-year-old Khudobin. With just a 3-3-1 record and .873 save percentage on the year, he’s quickly becoming the odd man out in a crowded goalie situation in the Lone Star state. Offseason addition Braden Holtby is having somewhat of a renaissance season with a .927 save percentage in 10 starts, while up-and-comer Jake Oettinger has yet to lose this season and has a .951 save percentage in five starts. Oettinger began the season in the AHL but it’s becoming apparent that after a promising rookie campaign last year, he’s simply too good for a third-string role. Khudobin has two seasons left on his contract with a $3.33MM cap hit and has a four-team no-trade list in effect this season, per CapFriendly.
- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan also finds himself on that same Trade Watch List. Listed at No. 7, de Haan has no points in 21 games this season but has been solid defensively on a Blackhawks team that sits in the bottom-ten in the league in goals against. The 30-year-old has oft appeared in trade rumors, and as he’s in the final year of his contract with a $4.55MM cap hit, those won’t be quieting down anytime soon.