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This article was published 18/12/2014 (2368 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Losing their top four defencemen to injury prompted Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to pull the trigger on a trade for more blueline help.
The Jets acquired veteran defenceman Jay Harrison from the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon in exchange for Ottawa’s sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, previously landed at the 2014 draft. The move came just hours after the club confirmed that Mark Stuart will be out until February with an ‘upper-body’ injury, swelling an injured list that also includes Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba.
"We were looking at all our options before Mark (was injured)," said Cheveldayoff today in a conference call. "With the deadline (the Christmas roster freeze runs from midnight Friday until 12:01 a.m. Dec. 28th) there’s different rules that come into play with movement. So, certainly, the timing of Mark solidified that we wanted to make a move.
"It’s a tough time. Jay is excited about the opportunities here, but with the holiday season approaching he’s got four children at home. There’s a human side to the game that certainly comes into play as well."
The 32-year-old Harrison has appeared in 337 NHL games over 10 seasons with Toronto and Carolina. The Oshawa, ON native was drafted in the third round, 82nd overall, in 2001 and has 70 points (21G, 49A) and 337 penalty minutes during his NHL career and has a long history with Jets coach Paul Maurice, having played for him with the Toronto Marlies and Leafs and the Hurricanes.
"He’s a guy that has some size, he’s got a big shot from the point, he’s had a lot of experience at the National Hockey League level and, even moreso, he’s had some positive experience with Paul Maurice," said Cheveldayoff. "Paul and I had extensive conversations about Jay and it seemed like it was a very good fit.
"(Maurice) spoke volumes about him as a person, as a player. He felt that he would fit right into our dressing room, into our environment. He talked about his fitness level, he talked about his work ethic. When you’re in the league and pushing 350 games you obviously do some things that are coveted at the National Hockey League level. To have his experience come into our dressing room and he’ll have an opportunity to play a good role… from a player’s standpoint that’s going to be exciting for him. I had the opportunity to speak to him minutes ago and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to come in. From a distance he sees what we have going on here as a group and he’s really looking forward to contributing to the success of the franchise."
Harrison is under contract through the 2015-16 season and earns $1.5 million.
The Jets also announced they have placed Trouba on IR retroactive to Dec. 14.
Stuart out of Jets lineup until February
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Mark Stuart is out of the Jets lineup until February with a lower-body injury, Jets head coach Paul Maurice announced Thursday afternoon.
"That was clearly not the news we needed to hear," Maurice told reporters, referencing what is already a battered blueline corps. "We don’t have a lot of defencemen to spare at this point. But it’s the same line I gave you two or three days ago -- this is our adversity, this is what we have to deal with."
Maurice said Stuart sustained the injury Tuesday night during a fight late in the third period with Nicolas Deslauriers of the Buffalo Sabres. Deslauriers rocked Stuart with two hard punches to the head that knocked Stuart down and he left the ice in obvious discomfort. The game ended with Stuart still serving a fighting major and he never did return.
With Stuart out of the lineup, the Jets will head into a game Friday night at home versus the Boston Bruins minus their four top defenceman. Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba are already out of the Jets lineup with injury.
Maurice said Enstrom will not start skating again until at least early January and Bogosian is not likely to be back on the ice until mid-January. Like Stuart, Trouba is also expected to be out until February.
Maurice, who has coached over 1,000 games in the NHL, said he has never before seen a team have so many serious injuries at one position at one time.
"You can get into runs where you’ve got one or two of your top four (defencemen) out for two or three games. But this is quite a bit more significant," said Maurice.
With Stuart out of the lineup, Julien Brouillette will draw into the Jets lineup on a pairing with Grant Clitsome. The other pairings at practice this morning were Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot and Adam Pardy and Paul Postma.
Brouillette, 28, spent seven seasons in the minors before he finally got called up to the NHL last season for a 10-game stint with the Washington Capitals.
The Jets signed him as a free agent during the off-season and called him up from St. John’s Dec. 4. While Brouillette’s been skating with the big team ever since, Friday night will be his first game in a Jets uniform.
Brouillette said Jets fans can expect to see a steady and consistent performer. "Consistency -- that’s how I made my mark," said Brouillette.
"People might say I might not be the best of everything, but I can do a bit of everything. And bottom line is consistency is what the coaching staff usually looks for."
Meanwhile, Jets forward Evander Kane did not take part in practice today. Maurice said Kane took a maintenance day and will be in the lineup Friday against Boston.
Kane’s absence from practice on Thursday -- coming as it did after he was a full participant in the skills competition Wednesday night and against the backdrop of his team being low on defencemen -- got tongues wagging on Twitter Thursday morning that maybe he’d been traded.
Playing along, Kane removed his namebar and all his equipment from his dressing room stall while his teammates were practicing as a joke.
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.