We’re just a few hours away from puck drop at MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Jets made some news before the game started, going to the waiver wire to claim D Keaton Ellerby from the Los Angeles Kings.
The move is not surprising, given the number of injuries the Jets are dealing with on the back end.
Jacob Trouba (neck), Paul Postma (blood clot in his leg) and Mark Stuart (hip) are all on the injured-reserve list right now, so it was important to bring in someone with NHL experience.
Say what you want about the frequency Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff goes to the waiver wire, in this case he was able to bring in someone with 160 NHL games without giving up an asset.
Ellerby isn’t the kind of guy that’s going to solve the Jets’ defensive challenges, but he’s an Albertan who was chosen 10th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft so he has some tools.
Although he’s 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Ellerby isn’t considered an overly physical player (like Stuart is) but maybe joining a new organization will help provide a spark for the 24-year-old. He’s not a high-end offensive talent either (two goals, 20 points during his NHL career) but did have 19 and 23-point seasons in the American Hockey League. For lack of a better term, he’s a mobile, puck mover who can provide depth and give you some minutes on a third pair.
Ellerby will report to Winnipeg and could be available for Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, but we’ll see if the Jets throw him directly into action or give him some time to get settled first.
Some of that may depend on how Ben Chiarot does in his NHL debut against the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.
Chiarot seemed pretty calm when he spoke with the media on Friday, he was excited to finally play an NHL game. I wrote about him in Saturday’s edition of the Sun and it’s available online at www.winnipegsun.com.
It’s an extensive package that includes a game preview, a sidebar on ‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews playing his first regular-season game in Winnipeg and a piece on Blake Wheeler finding his stride of late.
The Jets have Zach Redmond in St. John’s, but he’s been dealing with a knee injury he sustained in practice, so the D-man played his first game of the season on Friday night, chipping in a goal (on the power play) and an assist (while shorthanded).
Redmond is considered the next-man up but this waiver claim suggests the Jets are going to wait a bit for him to get into game shape and up to speed before he is recalled.
The Jets open a brief, two-game homestand before traveling to Chicago to face the Blackhawks again on Wednesday.
As many players said Friday, it’s going to be a big challenge to face the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are off to an 8-2-3 start.
Here’s how we expect both teams to start Saturday’s game:
Evander Kane-Olli Jokinen-Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Devin Setoguchi
Michael Frolik-Mark Scheifele-Matt Halischuk
Chris Thorburn-James Wright-Anthony Peluso
Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Ben Chiarot-Adam Pardy
Ondrej Pavelec (Al Monotya)
Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad-Brandon Pirri-Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell-Andrew Shaw-Jeremy Morin
Brandon Bollig-Marcus Kruger-Ben Smith
Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy-Michal Rozsival
Corey Crawford (Nikolai Khabibulin)