The Winnipeg Jets may have to make do without forward Mathieu Perreault for the remainder of the regular season. The club made the announcement Wednesday, confirming a lower body injury and placing Perreault on injured reserve.
The Jets have also recalled forward Carl Klingberg from the AHL.
Perreault seems to have suffered the injury on Monday night after a hit by Edmonton Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry. The Jets also lost Drew Stafford in the game thanks to an upper body injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but he is expected to take part in the morning skate on Thursday.
If the Jets can’t dress the newly-acquired Stafford, Dustin Byfuglien will be slotted back to the forward position for the time being. They’ve also been running defenceman Paul Postma as a forward, so that’s another option.
Losing Perreault is no picnic for the Jets. He’s been holding it down on the second line with Mark Scheifele and has been skating well. Perreault was tying his career high total in goals with 18 in 56 games and was a real feather in the cap for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who picked him up as an off-season free agent.
But the good news is that the Jets are versatile enough to handle this situation. The aforementioned Byfuglien can once again slide into the forward position in Perreault’s absence – if he’s not still covering for Stafford – and that gives Winnipeg remarkable versatility.
“We have a huge advantage, literally and figuratively, that Dustin Byfuglien can transition up front and be a powerful force,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “We’ve lost a top six forward in Mathieu and now put one back up. Dustin Byfuglien has a key piece in all of this. Being able to go from forward back, when all our D went down, and we were as good, maybe better, at times.”
Perreault will still be missed, without question, but this isn’t a big deal for the Jets and that speaks to their depth. Perreault’s biggest contributions come with his aggressive forecheck and his abilities on the power play, but Winnipeg will make some adjustments and should emerge from this situation relatively unscathed.
“When guys go down, it doesn’t shake up your [dressing] room,” said Maurice. “Good character, good leadership, but Byfuglien has a key piece in all of this being able to go [between defense and forward].”