After 52 games, the Jets are currently sitting out of a playoff spot. They have been dealing with injuries all season, which has forced players into roles not suited for them. The lack of defensive depth has been an issue for the entire 2016-17 season.
The goaltending has been okay at times, but suspect otherwise. On top of this, the Jets special teams have not been very good.
But, with 30 games left, there is hope because the Jets can still easily make the playoffs.
The Jets currently sit only 3 points out of a wild card spot and this is in spite of a mediocre season to date. They have played the same amount of games as Calgary, who sits in the last wild card spot.
To give even more hope, the Jets’ goal differential of -11 is better than Calgary’s (-14) and is second best out of all the teams in the Western Conference currently out of the playoffs. Los Angeles has a goal differential of +2.
Patrik Laine is currently representing the Jets at the All Star game in Los Angeles. He is first in rookie scoring with 40 points. He missed 8 games to injury. There is no reason to think that he will slow down in the back half of the season.
Mark Scheifele has emerged as a number one centre, giving the Jets the luxury of having two centres who can play the number one role.
Jacob Trouba is emerging as a number one defenceman and could not be doing so at a better time. His return to the lineup after a contract stand off could not have happened quick enough for the Jets. If the Jets are able to make a run, Trouba will play a large part in a playoff run.
The even strength play of the Jets has helped keep the team afloat. They sit pretty much even at 49.62% for Corsi For Percentage and have scored 94 out of 148 goals have been scored at even strength.
The Jets have had a 17.1% success rate on the power play, which is currently good for 16th in the league. However, the penalty kill is the downfall for the Jets, with only a 76.9% penalty kill rate.
There is a lot of potential for good to come from the Jets in the last 30 games of the 2016-17 regular season. They have young players vying for larger roles and have skill to be able to fill those larger roles. Andrew Copp has been playing on Scheifele’s wing with Perreault out with injury. The early returns seem pretty good.
When both Perreault and Dano return from injury, there are going to be some hard decisions made as to who gets bumped down to the bottom six and what the lines will look like for the Jets’ forwards.
Tyler Myers has only played in 11 games so far in the 2016-17 season. He is currently away dealing with a family matter, but his return from that and injury should give the Jets’ added defensive depth the team has lacked all season. This will force the Jets to shuffle the defensive pairings, but Myers’ return could see the return of a Byfuglien and Trouba pairing.
The Jets also have players like Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic playing well in the AHL. They could easily be added to a potential playoff lineup, if needed.
The Jets are not far from being in a playoff spot. The biggest aspect in the team’s game is defensive zone play and especially the penalty kill. If the penalty kill itself can be improved, then the team stands a stronger chance at succeeding down the stretch and doing well in a potential playoff series.
There is still work to be done for the Jets to make the playoffs. However, despite poor play at times, the team has positioned itself to make a run to the playoffs for the 2nd time since the Jets’ return to Winnipeg.
All of this should give fans hope.
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