Manitoba Moose Persevere Despite Jets Call-Ups

Jansen Harkins, Dominic Toninato, and Mikey Eyssimont are all forwards that started the season on the Manitoba Moose’s opening night roster. Fast forward a few months, and those players are up with the Winnipeg Jets due to injuries suffered by Nikolaj Ehlers and Mason Appleton.

Despite that, the Moose are finding ways to win and take points away from good opponents. They currently sit second in the division in points percentage (P%), and just took three of a possible four points against the division-leading Milwaukee Admirals.

Chaz Lucius, Cole Maier Injuries Add to Forward Depth Issue

Mark Morrison told reporters on Thursday, Dec. 1, that Chaz Lucius and Cole Maier were expected to miss a few weeks with their injuries, which has added adversity to the already depleted forward group. Losing players to call-ups is normal for an American Hockey League (AHL) team, but it seems as though the Moose are experiencing more adversity than others.

Their depth forwards are contributing nonetheless, as Greg Meireles scored the game-winning goal with under three minutes remaining in the third period on Saturday, Dec. 3, and Nicholas Jones finished with a goal and an assist.

Chaz Lucius Manitoba Moose
Chaz Lucius, Manitoba Moose (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Lucius had five points in 12 games before he suffered the injury and was slowly starting to find a rhythm offensively. Fellow prospect Brad Lambert has had a slow start to the season points-wise, with only three in his first 11 games. Although, he too is starting to find a rhythm and showing the talent that warranted him to be a first-round pick by the Jets.

Related: Moose’s Lambert & Lucius Impressive in Opening Weekend

Latest News & Highlights

Maier had posted seven points in his first 12 games, but his production will be missed mainly on the penalty kill. It went an impressive 7/7 in the two-game series against the Admirals, and they will have to keep that momentum rolling as their forward depth took yet another hit with Maier’s injury.

Declan Chisholm, Ville Heinola Providing Offence from Defence

Assistant coach Eric Dubois after the game Saturday talked about how their defence and transition game is helping them weather the storm up front. Dubois had this to say when asked how important it is to generate offence from your defence:

Our team has been like that for three years. A lot of offence and a lot of transition comes from the back-end, even last year when we had more depth up front, everything was starting from the back-end

Eric Dubois

Defenders Ville Heinola and Declan Chisholm both have 10 points this season and have contributed mightily on the offensive side of the ice. Dubois stated that “If they don’t play well and don’t transition well, it’s hard to generate offence.”

Declan Chisholm Manitoba Moose
Declan Chisholm, Manitoba Moose (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Heinola has eight primary assists in 13 games to start the season, which is fourth amongst all AHL defencemen, and he has played six fewer games than the defenders ahead of him. He had a short two-game stint with the Jets, but the Moose are happy to have him back and controlling play at an elite level.

Alex Limoges Leading the Way Offensively on Top Line

Alex Limoges Is leading the way offensively with 16 points in 15 games and has built a plus/minus of plus-6, which leads all forwards on the Moose. The top line of Limoges, Jeff Malott, and Kevin Stenlund are finding a rhythm and building chemistry together, all while establishing themselves as this team’s top-scoring line. He told reporters “my confidence is there with the puck, and it’s pretty easy to play with my linemates. Every game we are expected to contribute within ourselves.”

Alex Limoges Manitoba Moose
Alex Limoges, Manitoba Moose (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Limoges is continuing his success from a season ago, when he posted 42 points in 62 games for the San Diego Gulls. He is a versatile winger that has had plenty of different linemates this season, but his play style makes it easy to contribute no matter who he is playing with.

The Moose will now go on a four-game road trip, against the Abbotsford Canucks and Calgary Wranglers. They will end up playing 10 more games this month, where they will be asked to overcome the forward depth issues that seem to be piling up. If the defensive group can continue their offensive contributions, the Moose will remain one of the best teams in the AHL. If their forward depth gets restored in the near future, they have all the tools to make the playoffs and potentially make a run for the Calder Cup.

Sign up for our regular 'Jets Newsletter' for all the latest.
Sign up for our regular 'Prospects Newsletter' for all the latest.