Blueliner Zach Redmond could be close behind
It’s a perfect headline for fans of alliteration: “Paul Postma prepared to play against Portland Pirates.”
What’s more, it’s true now that Postma has been officially assigned to the St. John’s IceCaps by the Winnipeg Jets.
It’s a conditioning assignment for the defenceman, who turns 25 in less than four weeks.
Postma hasn’t played since late October, when he began feeling discomfort in his leg and eventually was diagnosed as having a blood clot in his calf. After three months of treatment, including the use of blood thinners, he’s been back on the ice practising with the Jets for the past week and has been medically cleared to play. However, to get him fully ready for a return to NHL action, it was felt some tune-up time with the IceCaps was in order.
St. John’s, riding a four-game winning streak, finishes up a five-game road trip with games against the Pirates Friday night in Lewiston,. Me., and Saturday in Manchester, N.H., against the Monarchs.
Postma’s conditioning assignment can be for no more than two weeks, but it also allows the Jets to send him to the AHL without having to clear waivers, which apply to the blueliner.
According to Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice, Postma may not be the only young rearguard on the Winnipeg roster who might eventually be sent to St. John’s for game action — Zach Redmond hasn’t played in a single contest for the Jets since being recalled from the IceCaps Jan. 10.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Maurice hinted Redmond might also need some time in the minors to stay in game shape because he’s unlikely to get it with Winnipeg right now.
“Because they’ve both been out for so long, I’d like to get them in some games.” said Maurice when asked about Postma and Redmond.
“But I’m comfortable with the way the six guys on our back end have been performing ... so I’m not looking at yanking guys in and out to do that.
"I’d like to have (Postma and Redmond) go and play (in the AHL) so that when they get their chance, they feel that they are ready to go. And we get a real good assessment, even if it’s for a short window.”
Redmond would not have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors.
Postma appeared in 83 games for St. John’s during the 2011-12 and 2013-13 seasons, scoring 20 goals and adding 42 assists, but he hasn’t played for the IceCaps since last January, when he was promoted to the Jets at the conclusion of the NHL lockout. In the off-season, he signed a two-year, one-way contract with the team.
Including Postma, the IceCaps now have eight defencemen on their roster, but that includes Kris Fredheim, who is listed as week-to-week after suffering an upper-body injury in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Bruins in Providence. As well, Julian Melchiori has been sidelined by injury since Jan. 7, although St. John’s head coach Keith McCambridge said earlier this week that Melchiori might be available for this weekend’s games.
St. John’s would have had nine rearguards, but Cody Sol was returned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL on Wednesday, shortly before Postma’s conditioning assignment was announced. Sol had appeared in one game for St. John’s after being promoted from the Reign Jan. 16.