When the Winnipeg Jets face off with the Colorado Avalanche (9-11-6) tonight, fans will notice a change in the line-up.
After playing the first 26 games of the season at forward, Dustin Byfuglien will play defence tonight.
The change comes after head coach Paul Maurice announced yesterday that Zach Bogosian would be out 4-6 weeks, while Toby Enstrom and Grant Clitsome also remain sidelined with injuries.
With three blue liners out, Byfuglien was moved back at yesterday’s practice and paired with recent call-up Ben Chiarot.
Byfuglien met with the media following that practice and gave his thoughts on the change.
At 23-years-old, Chiarot made his NHL debut last season when the Winnipeg Jets played Chicago. He played his second career game on Wednesday night against Edmonton, logging 21 minutes of ice time. Even with only two career NHL games under his belt, Chiarot is excited at the thought of being paired with Byfuglien tonight.
Coach Paul Maurice saw Chiarot play during the St. John’s IceCaps’ post season run to the Calder Cup this past spring. He liked what he saw in Chiarot’s physical presence, and was happy to see the defenceman bring that game to the NHL level. Maurice was asked if there was any similarity between the defensive systems he uses with the Winnipeg Jets and those implemented in St. John’s.
Tonight’s game is one of six central division match ups the Winnipeg Jets have on their schedule this month. In their only other meeting of the season so far, Bryan Little deflected a shot from Andrew Ladd in overtime to give the Jets a 2-1 win.
Puck drop at MTS Centre is 7 pm central time.