Connor Demoted, Hendricks on IR
WINNIPEG, MB – A 20-year-old skilled forward who made the Winnipeg Jets roster out of training camp last season, will start the 2017-18 season in the lineup of the Manitoba Moose.
On Tuesday, the Jets set their opening night roster and to make everything fit, they assigned forward Kyle Connor to the Manitoba Moose and placed veteran forward Matt Hendricks on injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 27. The Jets will start the season with 23 players on their roster.
Connor was the story on Tuesday. Last year, he made the big team out of training camp and played in 19 games before being sent to the Moose. In the AHL, Connor was terrific. He had 25 goals and 44 points in 52 games and was named the Moose MVP. The Jets called him back up to the big club late in the season and he scored a goal in the final game of the regular season.
This year, however, the Jets just had too many young players. The Jets will have nine players 25 or younger on the roster when the season opens on Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As well, unless Connor is going to be a Top 6 forward, he might as well play at the AHL level where he’ll get plenty of ice time. He obviously had not earned a Top 6 position in camp.
The Top 9 forwards are likely to be Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Mathieu Perreault, Andrew Copp and Joel Armia.
On the back end, the Jets decided to keep eight defenseman on the opening-day roster including rookie Tucker Poolman, 24, out of the University of North Dakota.
Steve Mason and Connor Hellebuyck will share the goaltending duties. No surprise there.
The Jets play their season opener on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell MTS Place.
Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo by James Carey Lauder