The Winnipeg Jets won’t have Kyle Connor or Nate Schmidt in the roster for the next few games. They both tested positive for coronavirus and entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Not only will they miss Wednesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, but Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that they will also have to stay in the United States for the next five days, while the Jets head to Toronto and then return to Winnipeg.
It’s brutal timing for the Jets, who have won seven of their last 10 games and are just three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wildcard spot. They’ve played 67 games, which means everyone is hugely important from now on, and losing Connor is a big blow. The 25-year-old forward scored 41 goals and 82 points in 67 games, setting new career highs in both categories. Those include 18 points during that recent 10-game streak, carrying the Jets’ offensive charge over the past few weeks.
Although losing Connor is probably the worst thing that can happen, losing Schmidt is also a blow for the Jets. The 30-year-old leads all Winnipeg defensemen with 31 points in 66 games and still averages more than 20 minutes per game (although that number has dropped recently). Losing both could very well be a death sentence for the Jets’ season if other players aren’t able to step up and get points in the next three games.
Interestingly enough, even though they sold Andrew Copp at the deadline, the Jets have actually brought some forward depth lately. Mason Appleton, Morgan Barron and Zach Sanford have all been acquired, giving them more options that will hopefully emerge in future games.