The Winnipeg Jets are possibly without three of their regulars on defence Friday night. Due to a suspension to Josh Morrissey and injuries to Toby Enstrom and Tyler Myers the defence is going to be a lot different then it was at the start of the series. How could they handle these changes?
First of all, Toby Enstrom could play Friday. Reporters have been saying he is close and he is a big piece of the pie for the Jets. While he might have missed a lot of time since the team moved to Winnipeg due to injuries, when healthy he is one of their top defencemen. It would be a boon to the team even if it is on the third pairing. He is one of the top defencemen defensively.
The other option is Sami Niku. Niku was the named the top defenceman in the AHL this year and has adjusted to the North American game with such ease you would think he had years of experience playing in professional leagues. After Myers got hurt, Niku was called up and he should be called up again for game five. Even if Enstrom can play, playing Niku as well would not be an ill-advised decision. Niku might not be the seventh defenceman on the Jets depth chart, but he is probably in the top six of healthy defencemen in the organization. Him playing would be a boon to them.
Finally, Tyler Myers could play. While teams rarely give away the nature of an injury in the playoffs, he is listed as day-to-day and could be available Friday. If he is, he plays on the bottom pairing, which still leaves the top pair and second pair vulnerable on the left side. While Joe Morrow and Ben Chiarot have done an admirable job filling in for the injured Enstrom and Dmitry Kulikov, they are limited and that gets exposed sometimes.
There is no obvious way that the Jets handle Morrissey’s one game suspension because there are no concrete answer until we know who is available health-wise for the Jets. Once that is known, the pairings and assignments will be decided upon. One positive is the Jets have last change and will be able to dictate the match-ups on face-offs. It should be interesting to see how the Jets handle this one.