Jets youth seizing opportunity to shine since Ladd’s departure

The Winnipeg Jets have played 18 games since the departure of their captain, which saw Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison, and Matt Fraser traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Marko Dano, Chicago’s 2016 first-round selection, and a conditional 2018 third-round draft pick. The Jets have gone 6-9-3 over that time.

While the team has been losing and Jets’ fans are counting down the days to a potential lottery pick, there has been some strong performances with a few of the Jets younger players that is worth discussing.

The following numbers are the Jets’ performance in Corsi since the Andrew Ladd trade:

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Nicolas Petan: 21-years-old, 53.2 Corsi%, +8.5 relCorsi

To say Nic Petan’s start in the NHL was rough would be an understatement. Petan had only one point at 5v5, a flukey goal that bounced off his skate, and he was severely out shot with carrying the Jets worst Corsi% at 40.7 per cent.

Petan went down to the AHL where he lead the Manitoba Moose in points and primary points per game.

After receiving the call-up back to the Jets, Petan has looked like a new player. While he has yet to score in his seven games thus far, Petan has been dangerous both on the power play and at even strength. His dramatic shift in Corsi% also has been positive, with carrying the Jets second best relative Corsi.

Petan has played his whole career as a centre, but in the NHL he’s predominately played as a winger. If Petan can prove that he can play in the NHL as a winger, he’ll improve his chances with sticking in the big leagues next season.

Alex Burmistrov: 24-years-old, 55.5 Corsi%, +7.3 relCorsi

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The last time we saw Burmistrov play for the Winnipeg Jets, back in their first two seasons, Burmistrov struggled to put up points above a bottom-six pace. While this was non-optimal, Burmistrov still provided value in tilting the ice to the Jets’ advantage. His defensive acumen and neutral zone play caused any Jet to play with Burmistrov to out shoot and outscore better with the young Russian than away from him.

This year though was not the case. Whether linemates, usage, effort, needing re-acclimatization or some combination thereof, Burmistrov struggled to play effectively and it showed up in the numbers. Burmistrov has played much better though as of late, and Jets’ coach Paul Maurice credited Burmistrov’s new found tendency to use his linemates as well as shoot more often for the shift in results.

The Jets have the first two centre spots are set with the combination of Mark Scheifele and Bryan Little. Between Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp the team has their fourth line centre situation figured out as well. If Burmistrov (or Petan) can set in as a solid third-line centre, the Jets should be a lot more comfortable for the long term.

Marko Dano: 21-years-old, 54.9 Corsi%, +7.1 relCorsi

A team constructed like the Jets cannot survive off of two scoring lines alone. If the Jets wish to succeed they will need to roll three scoring lines and use depth to make up for lack of star power.

The Jets have three bonafide top-six wingers with Matthieu Perreault, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Blake Wheeler, and there is a ton of potential in blue-chip prospect Kyle Connor. Drew Stafford is a capable support winger, but only has one year of contract remaining and his effectiveness outside of the power play has been falling fairly quickly.

The loss of Ladd took quite a hit on the team’s depth on the wing, but young Marko Dano has shown promise. While he may not carry quite the same impact as the Jets last captain, Dano may fill some of the hole.

Closing Thoughts

It was a bit weird to see a team that made the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history and first time since 2007 strip down veteran talents like Juri Tlusty, Michael Frolik, and Lee Stempniak for youth. At first it looked like the choice really shifted the Jets back and the team might need a bit of a rebuild, but the Jets young players are showing that the team may only need minor adjustments and some retooling.

Notable Jet/Moose players under contract 24 or younger

Forward: Alexander Burmistrov (24), Brandon Tanev (24), Mark Scheifele (23), Adam Lowry (23), Joel Armia (22), JC Lipon (22), Scott Kosmachuk (22), Nicolas Petan (21), Marko Dano (21), Andrew Copp (21), Nikolaj Ehlers (20), Chase De Leo (20), Brendan Lemieux (20)

Defender: Ben Chiarot (24), Julian Melchiori (24), Brenden Kichton (23), Jacob Trouba (22), Joshua Morrissey (21), Jan Kostalek (21)

Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (22), Eric Comrie (20)

All numbers are courtesy of Corsica.hockey and are adjusted for both score and venue

  • Kevin McCartney

    I was vociferous about this when I was more involved in writing about the Jets, but I think it might be worth repeating for the millionth time (because I am easily enraged).

    They missed their window.

    You’re right that it makes little sense for a playoff team to let go of cheap, effective veterans who can bolster the middle six in favour of similarly priced rookies. The in-season progress is good, but it came at the price of a full season. Moreover, lots of pundits line up to warn Oilers fans every year that apparent progress in March is actually the result of ‘playing with nothing to lose’ against teams that don’t respect them.

    Worst of all, in a season where Ladd was moved, it might have been the last season the core of this team had a chance to make the playoffs.

    Cheveldayoff simultaneously gave large, long-term deals to Little, Wheeler and Bogosian AND apparently decided to wait for Scheifele, Petan, Morrissey and Trouba to be the core of the team. They added another 5 years for Buf (great choice), while off-loading Ladd (worrisome, but understandable). As Wheeler said the other day to Russo, he may not be around when the team is competitive.

    What he didn’t say (but which is equally true) is that the team probably isn’t competitive without their highest scoring forward, who is also among their best skaters and has plus size. It’s clear that he ‘zooms’ Scheifele’s and Ehlers’s corsi numbers. It’s clear that he stirs the drink on the PP. He and Byfuglien are simply their best players – how good is a team with a 36 year old Buf and no 70pt top line RW?

    Enstrom is getting older and less useful, Myers and Trouba are not Stanley Cup quality defenders (at least yet, for those still hopeful), and the collection of Chiarot, Stuart et al. on the left side look to be placeholders for Morrissey and Kostalek – who may never arrive and certainly not in time to share a blueline with Enstrom and Byfuglien.

    The Jets will definitely turn their whole team over in the coming 5 years. I look forward to Petan and Copp and Scheifele developing, along with Harkins and Connor and more. But the question was present all the way back to 2011 – is the ‘future’ better than the core of Enstrom, Byfuglien, Bogosian, Ladd, Little, Wheeler and Kane? Those are some really good players already. And they didn’t exactly get 6 McDavid’s to replace them.

    I think they cost themselves 4 years in the playoffs by playing Pavelec and somehow never realized that they were in their competitive window save for 4 or 5 very bad players (Pav, Thorburn, Stuart, Slater, Miettinen and a handful of other less regulars like Peluso, Halischuk and James Wright).

    Will they be competitive in 2020? Sure seems like a long time to wait when the solution was as easy as a James Reimer and a few Lee Stempniaks.

    But now the path is set. So… go Petan!