Winnipeg Jets claim veteran D-man Luca Sbisa off waivers

The Winnipeg Jets have brought in a veteran defenceman to bolster their young and injury-plagued blue line.

The team announced Wednesday it has claimed Luca Sbisa off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

The 29-year-old has been part of five different NHL teams since being drafted in 2008 by the Philadelphia Flyers.

He was selected 19th overall that year but was bumped back to his junior team in the Western Hockey League for a time. Sbisa also played in the American Hockey League and the Swiss league for a few stints between NHL gigs, before finally sticking in the big league for good since the 2013-14 season.

He was part of the inaugural Vegas Golden Knights team in 2017-18 that halted the Jets’ run toward the Stanley Cup. Vegas beat Winnipeg in Game 5 to win the Western Conference final and advance to the championship series.

Winnipeg Jets right wing Joel Armia battles with Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Luca Sbisa during the NHL Western Conference finals in 2018. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

Last year, Sbisa played for the New York Islanders but only dressed for nine games. He had one assist.

In 504 NHL games — which also included time with the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks — he has 18 goals and 85 assists.

Sbisa also played for Switzerland in the 2010 Olympic Games and in the 2011 and 2012 World Championships, and played for Team Europe under Jets head coach Paul Maurice at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The Jets defensive corps was depleted during the off-season with the departures of Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot. They are also dealing with Dustin Byfuglien’s continuing personal leave of absence.

Earlier this year they were hit with injuries to Josh Morrissey, and more recently to Tucker Poolman and Nathan Beaulieu.

Those injuries, combined with the inexperience of many of the new defence players, have resulted in the Jets giving opposing teams a lot of shooting opportunities. The team ranks eighth-worst in the NHL for average shots against at 33.5.

And when it comes to goals against, they are 12th worst out of the 31-team league at 3.27 per game.

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