WINNIPEG – Defence has not been a position of strength this season for the Winnipeg Jets.
Despite sitting sixth in the NHL in goals scored, the Jets have a minus-14 goal differential, having allowed more goals than all but three other teams.
Things are about to get even more challenging on the back end with just 11 games to go in their season, as the Jets have had to dip into their AHL reservoir to deal with a glut of injuries.
Jacob Trouba? Hasn’t played since an impressive but ultimately costly fight with Calgary’s Sam Bennett last weekend. He’ll be out at least another week.
Toby Enstrom? Not close to returning after that brutal hit from Tom Sestito.
Paul Postma? Day-to-day with a lower body injury.
That’s half of their normal unit, plus the long-term loss of Tyler Myers, who is apparently getting close to returning, not to mention the loss of forward Shawn Matthias for the season due to shoulder surgery.
That means that Brian Strait will join the big club alongside Julian Melchiori and Mark Stuart, three guys thrust into big minutes on a patchwork blue line.
Who knows? Maybe some fresh blood could be a good thing, seeing as the team has been unable to string together successive games of strong defensive hockey all year.
That theory will be put to test this afternoon against the Minnesota Wild, first in the West and the same team that hung six goals on the Jets the last time they played at MTS Centre.
If there’s any consolation, the Jets will be wearing their beautiful white Heritage Classic jerseys when the puck drops at 4 p.m.