The Winnipeg Jets have announced the recall of forward David Gustafsson from the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
Although many were calling for this news back in November, the team’s strong-willed coach seemed reluctant to tip his hand in the direction of a minor league recall based solely on the Jets’ struggling penalty kill.
Gustafsson, 21, was selected by Winnipeg in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and has gone on to excel while shorthanded through various levels of play. Most recently, he has put up seven goals and 16 points – both of which lead the Moose – through 23 games this season.
He owns a team-best 16.7 shooting percentage, while putting up 42 shots on goal thus far. He has three power play goals, two power play assists, two game-winning goals and one shorthanded point on the year. Oh and he is a perfect one-for-one in the shootout this season.
With Blake Wheeler having suffered a knee injury last Friday, the team was forced to await the results of various COVID-19 tests within its affiliate club before announcing the recall of Gustafsson. Moments after the call-up, the Moose placed forward Greg Miereles into the league’s COVID protocol.
But now officially with the team, Gustafsson will skate on both Thursday and Friday in hopes of drawing into the lineup for Winnipeg’s battle against the visiting Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Shutting down the league’s point-scoring leader Alexander Ovechkin will be a difficult task on its own, but in addition, Gustafsson and Co. will also need to turn their attention to fellow star Nicklas Backstrom, who collected an assist in his season debut on Wednesday evening, following a lengthy period of time rehabbing an injured hip.
The task won’t get any easier as the week progresses, as fellow Central Division rival St. Louis Blues make their return to Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon for the first time since beating the Jets in a shootout back in early-November. Puck drop on Friday is set for 7:00 PM central, while Sunday’s matinee features a 2:00 PM start time.