Coming off of a huge 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators yesterday that featured a 33-save shutout for Al Montoya, the Winnipeg Jets likely returned home in high spirits. Those spirits may be even higher today, as friend-of-the-blog Darrin Bauming tweeted the following from today's optional skate:
#NHLJets taking optional today; Buff, Bogo, Little, Wright, Thorb, Welly, Poni, Peluso, Antro, Jokinen, Kane, Stu, Redmond, Clitsome, Postma— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) February 10, 2013
That's right. Both Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian were on the ice today, joining a few of their teammates for a skate. Does it mean that either are close to returning to action? Well, Darrin?
Noel says Bogosian need to practice with the team a bit more before he's ready to go. "It's a day-to-day decision with him." #NHLJets— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) February 10, 2013
So it looks like Buff will be in the lineup right away, and that while Bogo is very close he will need some more practices. Well, the Jets host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and then don't play again until Friday when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town. Could both players be back as early as this Friday?
The question now becomes this: When Bogo and Buff are both back in the lineup, who comes out? It's obvious that Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey and Mark Stuart won't be sitting, so which of Grant Clitsome, Paul Postma and Zach Redmond will return to the pressbox or waiver-wire?
Zach Redmond has been an absolute revelation since debuting five games ago, but he is the only guy who is eligible to be sent down to the minors without being placed on waivers. Paul Postma, on the other hand, is on a one-way contract and would need to clear waivers, and though he has had a few rough moments defensively his offense is clearly there. And Grant Clitsome? Well, from all accounts he's a nice guy.
Looking at the Jets advanced stats courtesy of behindthenet.ca, it looks to me that Zach Redmond has performed well, and has done so against tougher competition than the other two as his CorsiRelQoC is in the positive. While Postma and Clitsome also have good possession numbers, it's obvious that their minutes have been very sheltered as their CorsiRelQoc stats are way in the negative.
So if Buff comes back on Tuesday, here is what I would like to see:
Buff - Enstrom
Hainsey - Redmond
Stuart - Postma
Clitsome (healthy scratch)
And when Bogosian comes back? That is where it gets interesting. I'm pretty positive that Clitsome may have lost his spot in the lineup completely due to the emergence of Redmond, but who plays between him and Postma? Here is what I'd like to see:
Buff - Enstrom
Bogo - Hainsey
Stuart - Redmond
Postma (healthy scratch)
We can't send Postma down due to the risk of losing him on waivers, but I'm not so sure that Redmond hasn't played his way into the lineup. Sadly, I don't see room for Clitsome on the roster anymore, and he will likely be parked in the press-box or even placed on waivers.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!