The Winnipeg Jets have announced that star winger Nikolaj Ehlers has been activated off of long-term injured reserve. Ehlers, 26, has been out since a January contest versus the Washington Capitals where he had a knee-on-knee collision with Dmitry Orlov. That collision caused a knee injury that has kept him out of a significant portion of games for the Jets.
Before the injury, Ehlers was producing decently well for a Jets team in need of his scoring touch. He had 13 goals and 25 points in his 34 games played. But the Jets have disappointed this season, and since his absence they have continued to languish on the fringes of the Western Conference’s playoff race.
On a positive note, though, Ehlers seems to have avoided any significant damage with his knee injury. In a sports world where season-ending knee injuries are all too common, seeing Ehlers return to the Jets this quickly (especially after watching Ehlers need to be helped off the ice by a trainer in the immediate aftermath of his collision) should be uplifting for a Jets fanbase that has not been given a whole lot to celebrate in recent weeks. Additionally, Ehlers did get to spend time in his native Denmark during his recovery, as reported by Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun, and perhaps the fresh start brought on by Ehlers’ return can help spark the Jets’ playoff chances.
In an interview with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff affirmed his faith in his team’s ability to re-enter the playoff conversation, saying that he is “comfortable” with this year’s team and willing to trust them in their chase of the playoff spot most observers expected them to more convincingly earn this season. Cheveldayoff’s interview underscored his patient approach to such high-pressure situations like a trade deadline and a playoff race, meaning that Ehlers’ return will be unlikely to have a significant impact on the way the Jets approach the deadline season. Instead, Jets fans will have to settle on his return having a significant impact on the ice, because regardless of what management does moving forward it is clear this Jets team just got a major, immediate boost.