WINNIPEG — Nikolaj Ehlers will have surgery to repair a sports hernia next week and is out indefinitely for the Winnipeg Jets.
“Details are still being finalized,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said Saturday, before Winnipeg lost 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home. “We won’t know the length of time he will be out until [doctors] get in there and see what they’re dealing with.”
The forward last played Oct. 17, when he sustained the injury during a 4-1 loss at the Dallas Stars.
Ehlers skated Wednesday for the first time since taking part in the morning skate prior to the Jets’ game at the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 19.
Bowness said Ehlers’ injury has not responded the way the Jets had hoped.
“After 7-10 days it felt like progress was being made,” he said. “It was slower progress, no question, but we didn’t push it and we gave it a little extra time, hoping to try and avoid this. We gave him as much time as we could and there comes a point where, ‘Hey , there’s something a little more than we can find right now.'”
Ehlers has three assists in two games. He was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 18.
“Give our forwards a lot of credit because of all the guys we’ve asked to adjust their role, their minutes and even the guys that they’re playing with normally, they’ve all done a good job,” Bowness said. “It goes back to us having to play that team defense to keep us in the games, which we’ve cleaned up a lot over the past 10 games.”
The Jets are also without forwards Mason Appleton and Morgan Barron. Appleton had surgery this week to repair a wrist injury and is expected to be out 2-3 months. He last played against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. Barron, out since Oct. 30, also had wrist surgery and is expected to be out 4-5 weeks.
“The guys that have stepped up and played those roles have done an exceptional job,” Bowness said. “We need that. They are top-nine [forwards], they’re not easy to replace. Are we missing them? Absolutely we’re missing them. It changes all the formations of the lines and it changes roles. And sometimes when that happens you’re putting a guy in a role that he normally wouldn’t be in.”
Defensemen Dylan DeMelo and Logan Stanley also are out for the Jets. DeMelo missed a second straight game because of an upper-body injury, but Bowness said he could play against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
“It’s nothing long term,” Bowness said of DeMelo. “We’re hoping to have him back. He skated [Saturday], but not ready to go. We’re hoping to have him back for Monday night.”
Stanley was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 25 because of a foot injury and missed his 10th straight game.