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JetsNation 2017-18 Final Report Card: Goalies And Defensemen

As you may have noted with all our Pilot’s Logbook player reviews, we gave each of them a final grade to sum up their entire season and with the defensemen and goalies all competed for this season, here’s your review of this season’s group.

Players had to have played a minimum of 15 games this season to “qualify” to be graded… This was actually the requirement at mid-season as well, so I know it might be a little funny to not set that bar any higher, but for players like Paul Statsny, Nic Petan, Joe Morrow and Tucker Poolman we wanted to include them as each of them also had interesting if not brief periods spent with the Jets.

As for the grades? Nothing overly complicated or based on any kind of formulas.

An “A” is exceptional. “B” counts as very good and a stand out performance. “C” is considered average – not amazing but not too shabby either. “D” could easily stand for disappointing and performing below expectations and an “F” in any grade system is flat out failure.

Also, we factored in playoff performances as well and like any good ‘final exam’ in school, playoff performances were considered a little more and in some cases lifted up or brought down an overall grade.

As always, we want your thoughts as well! Are these grades and our final player reviews accurate? Agree with most, but disagree with some? Have your own grades you want to hand out? Let us know in the comments below!


Goaltenders

Connor Hellebuyck
Midseason grade: A+
Final grade: A+

The only question left for Hellebuyck after his breakout season was whether or not he could perform in the playoffs. Hellebuyck answered this question by posting a .924 SV% in the first round including two shutouts to finish off the Minnesota Wild. This strong play continued against Nashville where Hellebuyck clearly out-dueled Rinne by finishing with a .929 SV% compared to Rinne’s .900 SV%.

The Backups
Final grade: D

A year ago the Jets goaltending situation was a mess which led the Jets to getting Steve Mason in the first place. A year later and at least the starting situation is taken care of – Hellebuyck is a lock as the team’s number one for the foreseeable future.

Defensemen

Tyler Myers
Midseason grade: C+
Final grade: C-

The biggest issue with Myers is he is a bit of an adventure in his own end of the ice. He at times gets indecisive with the puck which leads to turnovers. Offensively Myers isn’t half bad, but therein lies more frustration because his brilliant moments on the offensive end of the ice can be few and far between.

Josh Morrissey
Midseason grade: B
Final grade: A

Morrissey’s possession numbers did dip a little in his sophomore season but it really isn’t anything to be concerned about. His relative corsi and fendwick numbers were on the negative side of things – more likely an indication of how strong the Jets were as a team overall on defense, but his individual numbers stayed the same. His 50.6% Corsi for rating was third only to Byfuglien and Enstrom and his 4.3 defensive point share rating was .1 behind Byfuglien’s team leading 4.4 rating.

Jacob Trouba
Midseason grade: B+
Final grade: B

Trouba consistently made excellent plays in his own end to gather the puck and transition it out of the zone. Trouba does not commit many turnovers as he had the least amount of giveaways among the Jets right hand defencemen. This dependable play made Trouba valuable even when he wasn’t scoring points.

Dustin Byfuglien
Midseason grade: C+
Final grade: B+

Although he still may have hold of the title, Dustin Byfuglien is no longer the clear and absolute best defenseman on the Winnipeg Jets. Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey have developed into a great pair and while neither have passed Buff quite yet as better overall defensemen, the gap isn’t as wide as it used to be. Byfuglien is still the most important defenseman the Jets have and his reduced ice time should only help preserve his rugged style of play which is a game changer most nights.

Dmitry Kulikov
Midseason grade: C
Final grade: C-

Again, Kulikov wasn’t overly bad when he played this season, it’s just that he wasn’t exactly a shut down defenseman (not that anyone expected that out of him) and he did very little to help generate offense.

Ben Chiarot
Midseason grade: C-
Final grade: C-

The Jets coaching staff did protect him a bit in terms of matchups and where he started on the ice and for his part Chiarot was decent enough in maintaining the Jets defensive zone strategy of keeping everything to the outside perimeter of the zone even if his ability to help the Jets exit that zone and push into the offensive end of the ice was limited.

Tobias Enstrom
Midseason grade: C
Final grade: C-

Enstrom was really good at what he was supposed to be, a defenseman defending. he helped on the other end of the ice as well but it was with a style of play that doesn’t lend itself to any kind of highlight reel and that’s kind of been the story of his career and why he’s always been so underrated and underappreciated