The Winnipeg Jets have made three player recalls from their American Hockey League affiliate Manitoba Moose to wrap up the weekend. First it was the forward duo of Kristian Reichel and CJ Suess, who made their season debut last week for the Jets, before the team announced that defenceman Ville Heinola had also been called up from the minors.
This news came just days after the team announced that forwards Andrew Copp and Kristian Vesalainen – as well as one support staff member – had been placed in the NHL’s COVID protocols with the virus.
Injured players David Gustafsson (a recent call-up) and Evgeny Svechnikov have since skated, and it appears Gustafsson is ready to return to the lineup, while Svechnikov may need some more time in recovery.
Skating as a team on Monday from Canada Life Centre, the Jets lined up with their respective defence partners and forward lines as follows:
With captain Blake Wheeler still out and Neal Pionk not yet back in town, Reichel, Suess, Gustafsson and Beaulieu served as key parts of the team’s bottom-six, while Heinola appeared to be a placeholder for Pionk on the blueline.
According to interim head coach Dave Lowry, Heinola’s promotion was simply a bump in pay to have a fresh body on the ice with the team following the holiday break. Considering the fact that Heinola was in town, whereas many of the players were not, he was able to be recalled for the skate. Manitoba will practice on Tuesday, to which Heinola may be sent down for.
All metrics aside, the young blueliner does need to see regular game action to continue his progression up the charts. In having missed considerable game action last season due to his usage on the Taxi Squad, another winter spent in the press box is certainly not the answer.