Who has been the Jets Most Valuable Player so far this season?
As I’ve been putting together our two-part mid-season report card for the Jets (look for that Thursday and Friday) I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out who exactly should get the honor of being deemed the most valuable player. There are four players who come to mind… Two of them are obvious picks, two maybe not as much, but still pretty valuable.
The Jets captain leads the team in points with 53 and assists with 39. He’s well ahead of the pace needed to top his career best season of 2015-16 when he had 26 goals and 78 points for the Jets. When Mark Scheifele was lost with an injury in late-December that looks to keep him out of the lineup until late-February, there were worries that it would send the club into a bit of a tail spin. Wheeler has stepped into the center role that previously was taken care of by Scheifele and performed admirably to the point where many wondered if moving him to center on a more full time basis was a good idea (it isn’t, but it’s ok to spit ball ideas once in a while)
After the first two games of the season where the Jets had given up a total of 13 goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames, there were people already hitting the panic button over Steve Mason who had been brought in to shore up the goaltending situation for the Jets, not add to the long history of woes that position has provided. Enter Connor Hellebuyck who was thrown into the third game of the season against the Edmonton Oilers with many going “what’s the worst that could happen?” based on Hellebuyck’s sub-par season last year. 23 wins, a .922 save percentage and one All-Star Game invite later and it’s hard to imagine where this team would be right now if Hellebuyck hadn’t provided quality goaltending.
Leads the Jets in goals with 20 and second in the NHL with 11 power play goals. His all-around game has improved since his rookie season and doesn’t shy away from going into the corners and is starting to understand how to use his 6’5” frame to create separation between opposing players and the puck. He should also get consideration for being the MVP while rocking that beautiful/atrocious/
His offensive numbers have taken a bit of a hit (in a contract season no less) but there is very little doubt that he’s been the most important defenseman the Jets have had this season. The Jets have lost both Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien for significant amounts of time due to injury this season and didn’t suffer any drop off in play on the blue line thanks to the work of Trouba. Trouba taking charge on the Jets top pairing with Josh Morrissey has also taken pressure off of Byfuglien to play 27+ minutes a night like he did last season.
So today’s WWYDW isn’t so much a “What Would You Do” as it is a “Who Would You Pick” … Who is your choice for the Jets Most Valuable Player over the first half of the 2017-18 season?
Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on our Twitter feed and let your thoughts be known!