Late on Sunday the Jets announced that defencemen Sami Niku and Cam Schilling had been sent down to Winnipeg’s American Hockey League affiliate, Manitoba Moose. This move allows both Niku and Schilling to continue playing high-level hockey, while the big-league team takes a nine-day break.
With the All-Star Weekend beginning on Thursday, the league-mandated break gives players on the Jets time off. Most players take off from cold Winterpeg as the Collective Bargaining Agreement does not permit any team sanctioned events of any sort during this break. The only two players involved in hockey will be captain Blake Wheeler and lineman Mark Schiefele, who will serve as Winnipeg’s representatives at the 2019 All-Star Classic.
Niku, 22, put up a two-assist game for the Jets on Thursday evening in Nashville – his first two points of the season in 10 games. Schilling, 30, has dressed in four contests for Winnipeg, picking up one assist in his time with the team. In order to make space for the two defencemen on their active roster, the Moose sent 20-year-old blueliner Jacob Cederholm down to the East Coast Hockey League and parted ways with 28-year-old defenceman Dajon Mingo.
Manitoba plays three games during Winnipeg’s bye week, as the Moose hit the road for a six-game road trip, beginning with games in Grand Rapids, Rockford and Milwaukee. With defencemen Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot hoping to return to action soon, the Jets will most likely look to recall Sami Niku following the All-Star Game as a form of backup as Winnipeg’s first two games following the break are road contests.