Appleton, 22, is currently has eight goals and 18 points in 19 games with the Moose this season. The former AHL Rookie of the Year is coming off a tremendous 2017-18 season that saw the 2015 sixth round draft pick put up 22 goals, 66 points and 57 penalty minutes in 76 games for Manitoba.
The AHL Rookie of the Year also was voting in to the AHL’s All-Star Team and the All-Rookie Team, alongside fellow rookie blueliner Sami Niku. Following in the footsteps of Niku, Appleton is expected to find a seat next to the long-haired, puck-moving defenceman in the Jets’ press box for Tuesday’s contest against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niku, 22 – who was recalled on November 11th after Dmitry Kulikov went down with an injury – has yet to see game action, and this recall of Appleton very well may be of the same nature. Winnipeg forward Andrew Copp suffered a concussion on Friday, and missed Saturday’s contest in St. Louis. Brendan Lemieux filled in for Copp, lining up alongside Nic Petan and Jack Roslovic.
Although Lemieux does have more NHL experience to his name (19 games), his production has been minimal, only factoring in in the penalty minutes department. Whereas Appleton – who has yet to dress in an NHL contest – spent two weeks playing alongside Petan and Roslovic in late 2017, helping the Moose to a 10-0-1 record, while outscoring their opponents by 40 goals in that stretch.
Now seated comfortably in the press box, Appleton will be ready for the call to action if an injury, suspension, or illness occurs within the Jets’ forward corps. The news of this promotion came almost immediately after current Helsinki Jokerit forward Kristian Vesalainen made the decision to dash to the KHL – certainly a lesson in patience for the youngster.