Despite dealing with multiple injuries up front, the Jets enter play today sitting in second place in the Central Division thanks to a resurgent season from Connor Hellebuyck and some improved defensive play from some of their veteran blueliners under new head coach Rick Bowness. Accordingly, Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press wonders if instead of moving one of those veteran rearguards to make room for a youngster, they instead turn around and move one of those younger defensemen to acquire some help up front. Ville Heinola is just now getting his feet wet this season after starting the season in the minors while Logan Stanley has been out for a month and might have a hard time getting back into the lineup when healthy. Both players carry cap hits under $1MM which would be enticing to cap-strapped teams while Winnipeg has a little over $1.7MM in cap room at the moment per CapFriendly which would give them some extra flexibility to take on a more expensive forward in return.
More from the West:
- Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen has resumed practicing as he works his way back from an injury sustained late in the preseason, relays Lisa Dillman of the Orange County Register. He was injured at the end of September when he went crashing into the boards where he had to be stretchered off the ice. There’s still no firm timeline for his return but the fact he’s now skating with the team suggests he should be back sooner than later. He’d be a welcome addition to an Anaheim back end that has struggled so far this season; the 23-year-old logged more than 19 minutes a game after joining them at the trade deadline a year ago.
- As expected, the Avalanche have recalled wingers Sampo Ranta and Anton Blidh from the minors, per the AHL’s transactions listing. Colorado has been shuffling waiver-exempt players back and forth all season long in an effort to try to bank some extra cap space, something that is harder to do with the team currently in LTIR. Ranta and Blidh have played in three and four games respectively with the Avs so far this season.
- Flames defenseman Michael Stone has been activated off injured reserve, reports Sportsnet 960’s Pat Steinberg (Twitter link). The veteran has missed the last ten games due to an undisclosed injury after putting up two goals and three assists in his first ten contests this season. Calgary had an open roster spot so they didn’t need to make any corresponding move to activate Stone.