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Coach says injuries could play a factor in who gets sent to minors

10/01/2014 04:16 EDT | Updated 12/01/2014 05:59 EST
WINNIPEG - As training camp draws to a close with a number of players nursing minor injuries, Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice says it could affect how many more they send back to the minors.

The Jets dispatched five more Wednesday to their AHL farm team but Maurice could be a little more cautions as camp winds down.

"That may have an effect," he said Wednesday of his moderately full sick bay. "We'll get to our 23 plus injured guys . . . So if that list doesn't shrink we're going to have more bodies here."

Forwards John Albert, Carl Kilngberg and JC Lipon were dispatched to the St. John's IceCaps Wednesday, along with defenceman Julien Brouillette and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Brouillette and Klingberg have to clear waivers.

After their departure, the Jets still had 32 players on their camp roster, although some weren't skating.

Blake Wheeler didn't skate after getting hit by a puck Tuesday night and Dustin Byfuglien remained out as well, along with forwards Eric O'Dell and TJ Galiardi. Other players who got a day off included Toby Enstrom, Bryan Little and Patrice Cormier.

Maurice says it will be tough for Byfuglien to play a lot of minutes in the top six when the season starts if he doesn't return soon. He hasn't played in more than a week.

Injuries have given a lot of other players time to show their stuff.

"It's turned out to be a real good thing for other players getting an opportunity, so that's the positive in it," Maurice said. "Most of these (veteran) guys have got enough experience that we've got three days of practice before that opener that we can get it right."

That tryout continues for some when the Jets visit Calgary Thursday night.

On Winnipeg's forward lines, hopeful Nic Petan will line up with captain Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik, Evander Kane and Mark Scheifele will get 2014 draft pick Nik Ehlers, and Mathieu Perreault and Matt Halischuk will get Adam Lowry, a rookie who continues to look more and more at home in the NHL.

Perreault, who replaced Olli Jokinen in the Jets lineup, says he has good chemistry with Frolik and Lowry.

"He works really hard, he's a very smart guy," he said of Frolik. "Responsible defensively, which is always fun to have on your line. He's a guy that can also play offence, he does it all."

And Lowry, with only one season in the AHL under his skates, is the kind of big linemate Perreault says he has worked well with in the past.

"He's a big kid, he's a smart player as well," he said of the six-foot-five forward, who plays centre and wing.

Ladd, meanwhile, said he wasn't too worried that both Little and Byfuglien have been sidelined.

"Better to take care of that stuff right now rather than having it going on during the year. Sometimes it's smart to stay off."

He's been off a little as well but said he's good to go now and hopes to play both of the last exhibition games.

"We want to start hitting our stride. We've had a few games now to get that rust out and get our systems down pat a little more and now it's time to get sharp and to get ready for the regular season."

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