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Manitoba Moose Travel to Detroit to Battle Red Wings Thursday

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Manitoba Moose Travel to Detroit to Battle Red Wings Thursday

Thursday evening will be an interesting one for True North Sports + Entertainment. It will be an evening of showcasing the club’s long-stranding draft and develop mentality.

Thanks to the ever-growing and thriving coronavirus, a number of Jets regulars have found themselves on the COVID-19 reserve over the past two weeks. With additions and subtractions occurring nearly each and every day, the Jets’ taxi squad has seen a number of farm fresh faces join the big club.

It actually digs deeper than the taxi squad, as more and more Manitoba Moose regulars continue to hear their names called as fill-ins on both the taxi squad and the Jets’ active roster.

Thursday night in Detroit will feature a roster missing eight regulars due to COVID, as well as two team staff members – video coach Matt Prefontaine and goaltender coach Wade Flaherty. The team added forward Paul Stastny, defenceman Brenden Dillon and goaltender Eric Comrie to the list on Thursday morning.

Missing from Winnipeg’s lineup will be: Stastny, Comrie and Dillon, as well as fellow forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Kristian Reichel and defencemen Logan Stanley, Ville Heinola and Nathan Beaulieu.

Reichel – who originally joined the taxi squad and then the roster as injuries built up within the Jets’ forward corps – became a COVID casualty last week. But luckily for Winnipeg, the team will see the return of forward Jansen Harkins and defenceman Dylan DeMelo against the Wings.

“I made it almost two years without getting it,” Harkins laughed following Thursday’s morning skate. “It might be a little rusty with the lungs here tonight but just excited to be back and give it a go. Our team has been pretty good off the start since the holidays so just trying to come in and chip in and give the team what I can.”

Forward Cole Perfetti will rotate in on the team’s top line of Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois alongside Evgeny Svechnikov, while Moose regulars Austin Poganski and Jeff Malott also earned call-ups for the Jets on Thursday. Defenceman Simon Lundmark and goaltender Arvid Holm were also placed on the taxi squad. Poganski will skate in his seventh career NHL game and first with Winnipeg.

“I know Perfetti has been with Dubois and Connor the whole week,” coach Lowry said. “At the start of the game, that might be the case but Svech has also played with them and has some familiarity, so those are things we will talk about this afternoon.”

Joining Poganski from Manitoba will be defencemen Dylan Samberg and Declan Chisholm, who will both make their NHL debuts at Little Caesar’s Arena.

“I’ll have quite a few family members driving out, right now actually,” Chisholm said happily. “I’m pretty excited that they can come and it’s close enough. The best piece of advice is probably from Charlie Huddy. He said just go out there and play your game, you’ve played the game long enough. It’s going to be faster, but just have fun with it.”

The defensive pairs will look something like this:

Morrissey-DeMelo

Samberg-Pionk

Chisholm-Schmidt

On forward, Blake Wheeler and David Gustafsson remain out of the Jets’ lineup with respective lower-body injuries. Head coach Dave Lowry did indicate that Wheeler had been skating as of late and will push for a return to game action in the coming weeks.

Other than Dubois, Connor, Perfetti, Svechnikov, Harkins and Poganski, the other forwards expected to suit up in Detroit will be Mark Scheifele, Andrew Copp, Adam Lowry, Dominic Toninato, CJ Suess and Kristian Vesalainen. Moose goaltender Mikhail Berdin has also been activated off the taxi squad and will serve as Comrie’s replacement, backing up Hellebuyck on Thursday.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com.

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