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Photo Credit: © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

JetsNation 2017-18 Report Card: Forwards

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 now with this year’s team all done, here’e your review of this season’s group of forwards.

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!


Blake Wheeler
Midseason grade: A
Final grade: A+

It was a banner year for Wheels as he tied for the league lead in assists, led his team to it’s second ever playoff appearance since the move to Winnipeg and their first playoff series win in franchise history which earned him a spot on the NHL’s 2nd All-Star team and consideration for both the Mark Messier Leadership and Hart trophies.

Mark Scheifele
Midseason grade: A
Final grade: A

The future is extremely bright for Scheifele who continues to show why he is a true number one centre in the league. Throw in one of the team-friendliest contracts in the entire NHL and Scheifele might currently be the most valuable asset across the league. 

Patrik Laine
Midseason grade: B
Final grade: B+

There was some concern that Laine wouldn’t be able to continue his torrid scoring pace and shooting percentage after last season, but Laine proved all the doubters wrong by lighting the lamp again and again. Laine was at his best near the beginning of March as he scored a mind-boggling 16 goals in only 12 games including a stretch of three games where he scored eight goals.

Nik Ehlers
Midseason grade: B-
Final grade: B

Ehlers is becoming known for his end to end rushes which get the crowd on their feet, but there are too many times where Ehlers turns the puck over or makes a poor offensive decision. The offensive zone play should be worked on as Ehlers thrives off the rush because he can skate around the defensemen but doesn’t know how to beat them without his speed and often turns the puck over with little resistance.

Kyle Connor
Midseason grade: B
Final Grade: A

The style of Connor’s game fits wonderfully alongside Scheifele and Wheeler. Connor is a natural finisher and benefits by playing with Wheeler who is an elite playmaker. Scheifele is a driver of the play and allows Connor more time and space in the offensive zone.

Paul Statsny
Midseason grade: N/A
Final Grade: A+

Stastny arrived after the trade and was thrown in the lineup immediately between Ehlers and Laine. The thought was that Stastny, being a great playmaker, was the perfect centre to transition the puck from Ehlers who likes to carry the puck, to Laine who likes to shoot it. 

Mathieu Perreault
Midseason grade: A
Final grade: B-

Mathieu is more of a physical player than people realize mostly due to his smaller frame at under six feet, but he actually finished fourth amount Jets forwards in the hits category with 120. He’s not afraid to stick his nose into the corners or around the front of the net and is one of the team’s best when it comes to talking about forwards who can forecheck.

Shawn Matthias
Midseason grade: D
Final grade: D

If Shawn Matthias has a future in the NHL, it won’t be with the Winnipeg Jets who already had players more than capable of replacing him at the mid point of this past season.

Bryan Little
Midseason grade: D
Final grade: B-

This season in particular Little got moved around as the season progressed. Stastny was brought in at the trade deadline which meant Little had to move down and play with new teammates. Looking at the numbers, Little had 30 points before the All-Star break, but only managed 13 points after the all-star break.

Joel Armia
Midseason grade: C+
Final grade: C+

For someone with the puck possession numbers Armia has – especially in the playoff which we’ll get to in a moment – you would maybe expect a little more offensive production and while it got better this past season, it hasn’t fully developed like some had hoped it would.

Adam Lowry
Midseason grade: A-
Final grade: B+

If he can stay healthy next season, there is no reason to think he can’t keep up his strong defensive play while bringing up his offensive number back to where they were a couple of seasons ago when he scored 15 goals and had 29 points in 2016-17.

Andrew Copp
Midseason grade: B-
Final grade: C+

Andrew doesn’t excel in one specific area of the game, but he seems to do a lot of little things well. His offensive production can be streaky at times, but that’s not what the Jets are looking for from him. 

Jack Roslovic
Midseason grade: N/A
Final grade: B-

Jack’s speed and ability are already NHL level, the only question is his ability to make decisions on the ice, but he has shown an aptitude for that as well and shouldn’t be a concern in the years to come.

Matt Hendricks
Midseason grade: C
Final grade: C-

But his teammates love him and his absence was enough to make some Oilers fans and media question if their bad season was due to a lack of Hendricks and not general ineptitude from their general manager… That makes his surprise signing in August an overall positive one.

Nic Petan
Midseason grade: N/A
Final grade: D

The line combination is a coaching decision so maybe Maurice doesn’t like his effort in practice. Whatever the case may be, Petan has not earned the trust of the coaching staff and is starting to question his role in the organization.

Brandon Tanev
Midseason grade: C+
Final grade: B-

Even though Tanev isn’t the most skilled player, he does a few other things quite well. His biggest asset is his speed which makes him tenacious on the fore-check. This speed also helps him draw  penalties by out-skating the opposition and winning puck battles.