The Jets are getting a key part of their defense corps back for tonight’s game against Montreal as they announced that Dustin Byfuglien has been activated off injured reserve. The 34-year-old has missed the last six weeks with an ankle injury and has played in just 37 games this season although he has been quite productive when healthy with 30 points on the year. He’s expected to take Sami Niku’s in the lineup and get eased back into game action. Meanwhile, while Niku is waiver-exempt, he’s ineligible to return to AHL Manitoba as Winnipeg opted to not paper him back down just before the trade deadline.
More injury notes from around the league:
- The Maple Leafs are hoping to have defenseman Jake Gardiner back for their final two games of the season, head coach Mike Babcock told reporters, including Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. He has been out of the lineup for more than a month with a back injury. While having a back issue in the final year of his deal before being eligible for unrestricted free agency isn’t ideal, the fact that Toronto has struggled somewhat in his absence could mitigate that somewhat. Gardiner ranked 12th in our midseason UFA power rankings.
- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin participated in practice for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury two weeks ago, notes Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He’s still unable to take contact so he’s still at least a few days away from returning but it’s at least a sign that he should be ready for the postseason at the very least.
- The Stars announced (Twitter link) that they’ve activated winger Tyler Pitlick from injured reserve. He has been out of the lineup since mid-January after undergoing wrist surgery. It’s unlikely that he’ll play a big role down the stretch but the 27-year-old should return to a bottom-six role for the stretch run in Dallas.