Winnipeg Jets player grades: Games 1-41

The Jets are 41 games into the season, which is the halfway point. The team currently stands at 19-19-3, which is good for 5th in the Central Division. If the Jets continue to play .500 hockey and accumulate 38 wins, this will not put them into a playoff spot.

However, this does not mean there are not bright spots in the Jets’ roster and hope for the future. Playoffs aren’t unattainable, yet, for the Jets. There is work to be done, but hope for the future.

Lets grade the players who are currently on the Jets’ NHL roster.

Forwards

Mark Scheifele

Grade: A+

Scheifele has been one of my favourite players to watch for the Jets. He has truly turned into a number one centreman and was more than up for the task when Little was sidelined with injuries. Scheifele is tied for first with Patrik Laine with the Jets’ point lead at 36 points (17 goals and 19 assists). One of the things that has been noticeable in Scheifele’s development is his skating ability. He has always been fast, now he has the strength to stay with the puck when under pressure.

Patrik Laine

Grade: A+ 

The Finnish phenom has been lighting goalies up with his ability to put the puck in the back of the net. Laine leads the Jets with 21 goals scored and 15 assists, good enough to tie him for the scoring lead with Mark Scheifele. Laine’s shot is electric. He has the ability to score at  a high percentage and this makes him a dangerous weapon for the Winnipeg Jets. On top of this, Laine is developing some pretty good chemistry with Ehlers and Scheifele.

Nikolaj Ehlers

Grade: A

Ehlers had a rough stretch, but he has come into his own. The 19 year old sophmore has been on fire as of late. Ehlers now sits at 35 points, with 13 goals and 22 assists. The youngster oozes potential and seems to be able to create a play everytime he touches the puck. As of late, Ehlers has shown his ability to score. Yeah, the kid’s alright.

Bryan Little

Grade: B+

Bryan Little has been a stalwart since his return from injury. Little managed 1 shift in his first game before being hurt and placed on the injured reserve. However, his injuries are in the past and the centreman has displayed his two-way prowess in his games since he has returned. in 18 games, Little has scored 6 goals and 8 assists while carrying the 2nd line.

Blake Wheeler

Grade: A

Captain Blake has shown his leadership amongst the youngsters and they are listening. Patrik Laine rebounded after his mishap, Wheeler made sure he talked to the rookie once Laine sat back on the bench. 

However, Wheeler has also been a force on the ice. His speed has made other teams fear him and Wheeler has shown his play-making ability with 20 assists. He also has 11 goals.

Mathieu Perreault

Grade: B-

Perreault has struggled a bit with injuries, but has been able to move up and down the line up when needed. Some nights he is the 3rd line centre, some nights he is on the 2nd line as a winger. His versatility has been essential to the Jets.

Nic Petan

Grade: B-

Nic Petan has been another delight on the ice. Petan is continually showing his skill, especially on the powerplay. Injuries have hampered Petan so far, as he has only played 20 games. This has also decreased his ability to be consistent in his play.

Joel Armia

Grade: C+

Injuries seem to be a major theme among the Jets. Armia has only managed to play in 16 games. But in those games he has worked his rear end off to make his presence known.

Andrew Copp

Grade: C+

Andrew Copp has bounced up and down between the Jets and the Moose, but has been dependable when called upon to centre the 4th line.  

Adam Lowry

Grade: C

Lowry has managed to stay in the lineup for all 41 games this year. The big centre has been tasked as the 3rd line centre and has been okay in this role. Ideally, Lowry would be more suited for the 4th line, but he is making the best of this role.

Marko Dano

Grade: C

The centre piece of the return that saw Ladd go to Chicago, Dano has been an alright addition to the Jets. He has accepted sort of a pest role, while scoring 10 points in 28 games played. 

Shawn Matthias

Grade: C-

Matthias has been alright for the Jets. He has never been a huge scorer and has always left people wanting with his size and speed. However, he is a good bottom 6 player and has been decent on the penalty kill.

Drew Stafford

Grade: F

What the heck has happened to Stafford? He has all of a sudden become a massive black hole with little scoring ability. He once had the ability to move up and down the line up, but now he is better used in the press box.

Chris Thorburn

Grade: D-

Chris Thorburn, Chris Thorburn. Thorburn has been a big presence on the ice and has been labelled a good leader in the locker room. However, his grit and heart really need to be in the press box because his play just isn’t good enough.

Defenceman

Dustin Byfuglien

Grade: A

Love him or hate him. Byfuglien has been the number one defenceman on the Jets and has been good at it. Big Buff has made his presence known on the ice through massive hits and through his scoring ability. Byfuglien has 5 goals and 19 assists.

One thing that has not gotten enough air time is how Buff was able to be a good partner for Morrissey to make his fulltime NHL debut.

Jacob Trouba

Grade: B+

Hockey is a business and Trouba was doing what he thought best when he requested a trade from the Jets for more playing time on the right side. However, the Jets are more than thankful to have the young defenceman back and in the lineup. in 26 games played, Trouba has scored 2 goals and 11 assists. He has been a rock on the Jets’ blue line and will hopefully continue to be an essential piece moving forward.

Josh Morrissey

Grade: B

Josh Morrissey has been a good surprise. On opening night he ligned up with Dustin Byfuglien on the first pairing and did not look out of place. The rookie defenceman has had a lot thrown at him, but has been able to hold on, for the most part. His offensive game isn’t there, but that will hopefully come with more experience.

Toby Enstrom

Grade: C+

Toby Enstrom has been alright this season. He has been Mr. Dependable on the 2nd pairing and on the penalty kill. He has mostly been used in a shut down role, as his offensive skills just are not there anymore.

Paul Postma

Grade: C

Postma has been another mediocre defenceman. He has had to play between the 3rd and 2nd pairing, sometimes being given a role to big for him. He does have the ability to produce a little bit offensively,  but the defence has only started to stabilize with Trouba’s return and the team is waiting on Postma for more.

Tyler Myers

Grade: C

Tyler Myers has been injured, a lot. What we have seen from him is a decent shutdown defenceman. The big guy just has not been able to live up to his rookie season or his standing as a 1st round draft pick. 

Mark Stuart

Grade: D

Stuart has done well in the press box. Between injuries and sitting in the press box, Stuart has been limited to 10 games with the Jets. Now, if only the Jets were able to capitalize on his being out of the lineup.

Ben Chiarot

Grade: D

Chiarot has been a tire fire. I wouldn’t even put him in the press box if it were up to me. He has consistently been unable to play at the level required to be in the NHL. 

Goalies

Connor Hellebuyck

Grade: B

People are looking at Hellebuyck then looking at Pavelec in the minors and wondering when he will get the call up to spell the sophomore. But people forget that .911 is better than Pavelec’s .907 career average. 

Hellebuyck has done well as the number one, considering that this is his second season of NHL action. He still needs to be a little more consistent, but he has the ability to be a good number one starter. Part of his problem is he doesn’t know which team will be playing in front of him, the good Jets or the bad Jets.

Michael Hutchinson

Grade: C

Hutchinson falls to the same issue as Hellebuyck. He has not had a consistent team in front of him. Hutch has not been consistent as a back up, though, and his numbers show it. He has a GAA of 3.18 and a save percentage of .894%.