When things are going well for your local sports team, fans and media tend not to question too much. Hey, if things are working out, why rock the boat right?
Still, we got a handful of questions for this week’s AirMail and answering them we have Robert Dalton as well as WPG Chief – who brought all kinds of handy visual aids.
Remember if you want to have your most pressing Jets or hockey related questions answered by us, send them to us on Twitter and make sure you include the hashtag #JNAirMail so we don’t miss them! You can also mail us electronically if that is to your liking as well.
And away we go!
How did the jets pk go from so very, very bad to top 5?
— Winston Bellbottom (@Wbellbottom) February 19, 2018
Robert D: I don’t think there’s a simple answer. Quality goaltending helps, but shot blocking seems to be at an all time high this year by our defense. Analytics be damned, but Matt Hendricks has been key as well.
WPGChief: As much as it pains me to admit, the old trope of “shots to the outside” (at least in comparison to the previous season) is true.
Witness how things looked for the Jets last season…
And now how things look this season…At the same time, the Jets PK is allowing a greater rate of shots against than most, and per ‘my eye test’ they are also absolutely abysmal in preventing zone entries against. Both of those combined usually mean that this is something unsustainable, but so long as Connor Hellebuyck continues to perform at this level and keep rebounds directly in front of him to a minimum, the Jets should continue to at least be in the top half of teams with an above-average penalty kill.
Is 81 aka KC elite / underrated ?
— Yuri G (@YuriGelfat) February 19, 2018
Robert D: I don’t think he’s elite, but I do think he’s severely underrated. He does benefit from playing with Wheeler and Scheifele, but he does so much with and without the puck that allows those two to get the opportunities that they have gotten.
WPGChief: Kyle Connor is exactly as advertised: speedy, sneaky, and has a nose for the net. As he continues to elevate his play to mold more towards the NHL level with winning more puck battles along the board, he will soon be able to pair it with his ability to quickly get into the open spots on the ice – which in his case, is usually right in front of the net.
He has long been underrated by this very organization, as seen earlier when he was sent down to the Moose, so I would argue that he is still underrated throughout the league. I do not believe I can argue the same for being ‘elite’ in the sense of other especially talented wingers in the league, however.
A little late but what do you think is the most ideal lineup and line combos for the Jets when 100% healthy?
— Raffaele Richichi (@Rafcheech21) February 19, 2018
Robert D: It’s a Small sample size, but I do like the current line up that they have. When Lowry gets cleared, I’d think he gets slotted on the 4th line with Armia and Hendricks. Trouba with Morrissey as top pairing defence pairing seems ideal to me as well.
WPGChief: As argued earlier in the season by myself, Maurice has almost lucked into having one of the most optimal lineups in the Jets’ history ever thanks to injuries and line blending. Connor-Schiefele-Wheeler has been an absolute force to reckon with, and Perreault-Little-Roslovic has also been dominating as of late – the two young talented rookies being paired with the established veterans is key to creating matchup problems for the other team and creating opportunities line-in, line-out. While seeing Ehlers and Laine on the third line is almost heresy, exchanging Copp for Lowry (when healthy) would do much for improving puck battles and offensive zone entries for the two offensive-minded wingers (not that Copp is bad, but that Lowry has been an absolute gem this season and the previous.
Pair that along with having the likes of Copp, Matthias, Tanev, Petan, and maybe Hendricks on your fourth-line, along with Trouba returning to bump Myers down in ice-time, and this iteration of the Jets is offensively lethal. Oh, and thankfully things are most optimistic thanks to above-average goaltending courtesy of Connor Hellebuyck – though hopefully Mason or Hutchinson return from injury soon to give him rest in time for the (possible) playoff run.