The Winnipeg Jets won’t be getting the services of veteran centre Bryan Little back anytime soon.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said doctors have recommended Little not play next season as he continues to deal with a head injury.
Little hasn’t played after was struck by a shot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers during a game last November.
‘What that means for the future, that will be addressed at the appropriate time,” Cheveldayoff told media Friday.
Global News confirmed through sources Little suffered a brain bleed after the errant slap shot.
Cheveldayoff says it’s been tough to see the longtime member of the Jets dealing with a difficult situation.
“He’s a special person. He really planted roots in Winnipeg when it came to re-sign and he loves the city and loves being a part of this organization.
“It’s emotional, when you have conversations like we had with him the other day discussing this. You feel for him, he wants to play badly, but he has to make sure he puts his family and his health ahead of everything and we fully support him 100 per cent.”
GM on Jets moves
The Jets attempted to address the hole Little’s absence leaves at the centre position by acquiring Paul Stastny in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights Friday.
Stastny played 19 regular season games and 17 playoff games with the Jets back in the 2017-18 season after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues and developed instant chemistry on a line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine.
“If you have an opportunity to find a player you know fits with you from a play standpoint, from a personality standpoint, from just a teammate standpoint, you take that opportunity and jump at it,” Cheveldayoff said.
The Jets are also bringing back defenceman Nathan Beaulieu who signed a two-year, $2.5-million deal and Cheveldayoff said they’ve been impressed with him since he was acquired from Buffalo two seasons ago.
“He became an important piece for us to not let go and he fits in well with where we’re at right now,” Cheveldayoff said.
Luca Sbisa also returns to the blueline with a one-year, $800K contract.
“He’s a really good veteran, and is there for whatever role we need him to play and will give us the flexibility we need going forward,” the GM added.
The Jets GM said they may not be done just yet when it comes to the free agent market and “there are lots of conversations out there” when it comes to upgrading the team’s blueline.