Nino Niederreiter ready to return for Winnipeg Jets but Rutger McGroarty going back to school

The Winnipeg Jets could have forward Nino Niederreiter back in the lineup as early as Tuesday night.

Niederreiter practiced on Monday after missing their last five games. He was cut on the leg by a skate blade two weeks ago after a faceoff. The skate nicked his Achilles tendon, forcing him to receive eight stitches to close the wound, but he considers himself fortunate to be healthy again so soon after receiving medical clearance to play.

“Obviously it was kind of a scary play,” said Niederreiter. “I felt something in my leg but I didn’t know exactly what it was. So, I reached down a couple of times and felt some blood at some point, and then it started getting warm. That’s when I knew I got to get off and see what’s up.

“Obviously got extremely lucky. Nicked my Achilles a little bit and had to get a few stitches. And I’m glad I’m standing here right now.”

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Ideally the Jets would get Niederreiter some game action ahead of the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the last call on whether he plays on Tuesday will go to the head coach.

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“If he feels like he did today when we get out there tomorrow, yeah, there’s a good chance he will play,” said Rick Bowness.

While Niederreiter will be in a Jets jersey again shortly, prospect Rutger McGroarty will not.

McGroarty announced through the University of Michigan that he intends to return to school for his junior season with the Wolverines instead of turning pro.

McGoarty helped Michigan to the Frozen Four semifinals this past weekend. The 20-year-old scored 16 goals in 36 games as a sophomore after being selected by the Jets in the first round, 14th overall, in the 2022 NHL Draft.

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The Jets have two games left in the regular season and can clinch second place in the Central Division with just a single point against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday at the Canada Life Centre.

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