The Christmas break in the NHL isn’t exactly a halfway point in the season – it’s about 5 to 10 games short depending what NHL team you’re looking at – but it’s as good a time as any to look ahead to ‘the second half’ of the season and this week on the Roundtable some of the JetsNation staff shares what they expect to see from the Jets in the new year…
Question: What do you expect from the Winnipeg Jets for the balance of this season? Improved special teams? Better play overall? Worse play? Any trades or player movement?
Cammers: I think the Jets go up from here. The Jets have important pieces returning from injury and getting settled back into the lineup. Remember, Bryan Little was out for a chunk of the end of last season, so once he really gets going, the Jets should see a significant improvement in play. As well, penalty kill. I think the PK should improve with the return of Mathias, he had been a good penalty killer in the past. I can’t see any trades happening, but don’t quote me on that.
Dustin: it may be the homer in me talking but I think the Jets are ready to go on a run here. The hellish part of the schedule is behind them, the roster is about as healthy as one can expect, and the kids have a few games under their belt now. If the penalty kill cache tighten up a bit and a few more goals are scored (and I think Trikky Nikky is just starting to heat up), this team cad go on a bit of a tear. Unlike most, I don’t think the playoffs are out of the question just yet. That being said, trading Stafford away before the deadline to a real contender (or anyone else, for that matter) seems like the right move to me.
Art: I’m sorry I don’t share the optimism with my fellow staff, but the Jets are who they are now. Terribly inconsistent (a hallmark of a young team) and despite the thoughts that they have a bunch of talent, I don’t think have that much, especially on the blueline. This is a slightly below .500 team and I’ve just accepted that as fact. It won’t get worse, but it won’t get better either. That said, I expect some moves to be made before the deadline because there are guys like Burmistrov and Stafford who are clearly not long for this team and need to be cleared out so players like Dano, Armia and Copp can get playing time.
Jacob: It’s time for the Winnipeg Jets to find consistency in their game. The talent is there, but injuries and poor defensive play have plagued the Jets. There may be plenty of hockey left to play, but if the Jets don’t get rolling some time soon, they’ll be hitting the golf courses early this year. There’s no excuses for special teams anymore. With a shot like Patrik Laine’s on the left side and with Dustin Byfuglien’s from the point, you need to find a way to score on the man advantage. Furthermore, creative playmakers such as Nikolaj Ehlers have the ability to make the man advantage very strong, but yet, the Jets power play currently sits at 23rd amongst the league. As for trades, if the Jets really start going downhill, we could see Drew Stafford’s name pop up closer to the deadline.