Winnipeg played Tuesday’s game without four lineup regulars, and the injury list is growing. Shawn Matthias is out with a lower-body injury, and it’s “going to be some time” before he returns.
One of the keys to this campaign for the Winnipeg Jets was going to be a roster that remained healthy throughout the season, but early season injury woes have sidelined yet another member of the Jets’ regular lineup.
During Tuesday’s game agains the Capitals, Shawn Matthias, 28, suffered an apparent knee or ankle injury when he was simultaneously tripped and fallen on by Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov. As Matthias went to the ice, he clutched at his left leg and eventually had to be helped off the ice. He didn’t return to Tuesday’s game, and now comes the news that he’s not expected back in the lineup for a while.
Matthias was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, and Jets coach Paul Maurice said the team is looking at the injury as something similar to Bryan Little’s, which is to say Matthias is “going to be some time.”
That’s an unfortunate loss for the Jets, considering of the few off-season splashes the team made, one was to bring in Matthias on a two-year, $4.25-million deal to help solidify the Jets’ bottom six and give the club another big-bodied winger to use around the net. Generally, Matthias has seen second- and third-line minutes for the Jets, and Winnipeg has gotten two goals and three points out of him in 10 games.
Obviously, losing Matthias doesn’t hurt the Jets quite like losing a top-line player such as Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler or Patrik Laine, but it’s the cumulative nature of the injuries Winnipeg is having to deal with that is having an impact. Matthias joins the aforementioned Little, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and Mark Stuart on the injured list, and while Stuart is expected back soon, the timeline for return for the Jets’ other injured players isn’t as clear.
Matthias’ injury has offered up an opportunity, however, for Andrew Copp to get into the Jets’ lineup. The 22-year-old pivot was one of the final cuts from training camp and he turned heads with his play during the pre-season, but the numbers game resulted in the youngster being demoted to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. He’s been called up for the Jets’ three-game road swing, however.
Copp suited up in 77 games for the Jets in 2015-16 and managed seven goals and 13 points, but his familiarity with the system should allow him to seamlessly fill in for Matthias.
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