While the expectation was that Jets defensive prospect Tucker Poolman would sign with Winnipeg and get into a game before the end of the season, that has gone out the window as a result of a shoulder injury. Accordingly, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun wonders if that may ultimately have an impact on whether or not he decides to test free agency this summer now.
Poolman, Winnipeg’s fifth round pick (127th overall) in 2013, recently completed his third season with North Dakota, picking up a career high 30 points in 38 games. The Jets could have dangled the ability to burn the first year of his contract now to help entice the 23 year old to sign but now that he can’t start his entry level deal until 2017-18, it may make more sense for him to opt to test the market.
If Poolman does opt to wait to sign, he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until August 16th as the Jets will hold his rights through the 15th. He’s eligible to become a UFA as a result of it being four years since he was initially drafted.
Elsewhere in the Central:
- Blackhawks rookie winger Ryan Hartman will be a healthy scratch against the Lightning tonight, notes Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. The decision comes as a result of the youngster taking too many penalties with the last straw being a double minor (which included an unsportsmanlike conduct call) against the Panthers on Saturday. Hartman has 18 goals and 11 assists in 70 games this year and the belief at this point is that he should be back in the lineup later this week.
- Also from Lazerus, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville anticipates to have injured center Artem Anismov back in time for the playoffs. The Russian forward suffered a leg injury back on March 14th against the Canadiens and was expected to miss a minimum of three-to-four weeks. In the meantime, the ‘Hawks continue to experiment with finding the right replacement for Anisimov; tonight, rookie Tanner Kero will get a chance to center the second line with Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.
- While there are few positives in Colorado this year, one has been goaltender Calvin Pickard, particularly when it comes to his playing time, writes Jason Hills of the Denver Post. Their struggles coupled with the season-ending groin injury to Semyon Varlamov have allowed the team to give Pickard plenty more starts than they otherwise might have been able to do. Pickard’s numbers aren’t particularly impressive for a starter (a 2.91 GAA and a .907 SV%) but with an important decision looming regarding which goalie to protect for expansion, the chance to give the 24 year old an extended look as a starter at the NHL level is certainly beneficial.