The Winnipeg Jets announced defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is expected to be sidelined for at least a month with a leg injury. Byfuglien was placed on injured reserve Sunday afternoon after suffering the injury in Saturday’s contest against the Wild. Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Byfuglien will not require surgery.
Dustin Byfuglien goes down the tunnel after this hit from Luke Kunin. pic.twitter.com/OeDUZ8KPwj
— Giles Ferrell (@gilesferrell) December 29, 2018
The injury is another blow to a 2018-19 campaign that’s been riddled with injuries for Byfuglien. The veteran blueliner missed two games in October with an upper-body injury and four games early in December with a concussion. While the injuries are no doubt frustrating for Jets fans, they don’t seem to have impacted Byfuglien’s play. He’s operating at a near point-per-game pace with four goals and 29 assists in 32 games, and his ATOI is nearly identical to that of last season’s.
Fellow right-handed Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba should take over for Byfuglien on the team’s top pair, while Josh Morrissey is the most likely bet to assume his role on the top power-play unit. Trouba said Winnipeg’s blueline is prepared to step up in the absence of Byfuglien.
“Everybody’s got to pick up some minutes, some slack, and I think we definitely have the players to do it,” said Trouba. “Every team deals with different injuries, we’ve had some big pieces go down in the past but we seem to find a way,” he added.
Remarkably, the Jets are 5-0-1 in games without Byfuglien this season.