WINNIPEG -There were smiles all over the MTS Centre ice during the Winnipeg Jets pre-game skate today.
Game day will always have that affect, but when it's game day and an old friend returns? The smiles are extra big.
"When I got in I gave him a big hug and was happy to see him. I'm sure all the guys are excited,"said Mark Scheifele of Jacob Trouba, who returned to the team after signing a two-year contract yesterday.
"We're building a team that can hopefully win in the future, and win right now. He's a big part of that. Him signing is a big boost to our line-up."
Trouba, 22, has been skating in Ann Arbor, Michigan skating with teams and skill coaches to try and stay as game ready as possible.
"There's not really any way to replicate an NHL training camp I think I figured out," Trouba said. "There's no league like this in the world, and no one you can really play with to prepare you. You have to do your best to stay in shape and stay ready to go."
Video: PREGAME | Jacob Trouba
Head coach Paul Maurice says Trouba won't play tonight when the Jets (5-7-1) take on the Dallas Stars (4-5-3) for the third time this season, but the defenceman could return to the line-up shortly after.
"I'm going to make that decision after the skate tomorrow," Maurice said. "If his numbers are good off testing and he feels good, then I'm not going to wait very long. It may well be in Arizona (on Thursday)."
Over his first three NHL seasons, Trouba has compiled 23 goals and 72 points in 211 games. His return comes at a good time, as the Jets continue to battle injuries.
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Maurice said Armia and Matthias will likely be out with their lower-body injuries until mid to late December. But Drew Stafford, Mathieu Perreault, and Bryan Little continue to edge closer to a return.
"Stafford and Little, if all goes well over the next three or four days, will get back on the ice. Little is further out than Stafford," said Maurice. "Perreault is still day-to-day, but we're waiting for the day that he feels he can get back on the ice. We don't think after he gets back on the ice it's a whole lot longer then. But we can't get him out there right away."
The Jets did receive some good news on the injury front, as Tyler Myers was activated from injured reserve today, and skated in his familiar spot alongside Toby Enstrom at the morning skate.
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
Julian Melchiori was re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose, and Joel Armia was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 3, to make roster room for Myers.
According to Maurice, Trouba's return will also help keep Myers and Dustin Byfuglien's minutes at a more manageable number to help get the best out of all of them.
"I've really liked the defence that we've got out of the players there. I do think we ended up driving some minutes up on Byfuglien and Myers. There was a threshold there that I think they handled it well," said Maurice. "They both loved to play 30 minutes, but I don't know if it makes them better. I think there's a better number there probably."
So the return of number eight to the stalls of the dressing room is a welcome one in many ways for Winnipeg players, coaches, and management. As for him feeling comfortable after missing the first 13 games, captain Blake Wheeler believes that won't be a problem.
Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele
"(Trouba) is part of our family. I think what makes playing in Winnipeg and makes our organization special is that it does have a family feel. It's how we're going to win here," said Wheeler. "You get a member of your family back, it doesn't feel like he was gone. It feels like he's been here the whole time."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets welcome the Dallas Stars to MTS Centre tonight for the second time this season...The Jets and Stars split a home-and-home series last month, with both teams winning their home game...Winnipeg enters tonight's game after a 1-1-1 road trip throughthe Eastern Conference...Dallas, who lost two games to the Chicago Blackhawks last weekend, are 1-2-2 since their visit to Winnipeg on Oct. 27...Following tonight's game, the Jets are back on the road for back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday against the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.
Tonight's game is Winnipeg's fifth against a Central Division foe - three of which are against Dallas...The Jets are 2-2-0 against Central Division teams this season and three of the first four games have been decided by one goal...The Jets have five more games against Central Division teams this month.
Winnipeg is outscoring its opposition 21-9 in third periods and overtime, which is tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the most third period and OT goals in the NHL this season...The Jets have been outscored 21-5 in second periods this season, which is the fewest amount of goals scored by a team in the NHL in the second period this season...Winnipeg's 35 goals this season is tied for the 10 the most in the league.
With a goal on Sunday, rookie Patrik Laine restored his place among NHL goal scoring leaders with eight this season...He's tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Chicago's Artem Anisimov for the league lead...Laine also a share of the NHL power play goal lead with four and power play shots with 21...Laine has four multi-point games this season, which is tied with Toronto's William Nylander for the most multi-point games by a rookie...Among NHL rookies, Laine is second with 3.1 shots per game and a 20.0 shooting percentage. He leads all rookie forwards with a 247:11 TOI and 19:00 average TOI.
No. 1 Contributor
Mark Scheifele's five-point (2g, 3a) road trip has him tied for fifth in the NHL with 14 points (7g, 7a)...Going back to March 1 of last season, Scheifele leads the NHL in scoring with 21 goals and 41 points in 34 games...Scheifele won a season-high 69% (9 for-13) of his face-offs on Sunday against the Rangers and won 57% (29-for-51) of his face-offs on the road trip.
Down, But Not Out
Winnipeg is tied with the Vancouver Canucks for first in the NHL by winning three games and earning points in four games in which they were trailing going into the third period...The Jets are also tied with the Canucks for first in the NHL by trailing going into the third period in 11 games this season (3-7-1), including all three games of last week's road trip...Winnipeg has led going into the third period twice this year, both of which were wins - Oct. 27 vs DAL (4-1 W) and Oct. 28 at COL (1-0 W).
After starting the season with a healthy lineup, the Jets have seven players on their injured list, including four players on the injured reserve - Bryan Little, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and Shawn Matthias. None of the players injured this season have returned to action. Of the 35 man games lost to injury for the Jets this season, 19 have come in the last three games.
- Winnipeg has allowed at least three goals in 11 of their 13 games, but have scored four or more goals in four of their five wins.
- Winnipeg is 15-for-16 (93.8%) on the penalty kill in its last six games.
- The Jets are the fifth-least penalized team in the NHL this season with an average of 8:23 PIM per game.
- The Jets haven't scored a power play goals in six games (0-for-17).