Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Are the ingredients there for a deep playoff run?
By Goose3 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! Happy Black Friday to our American friends. I have good news for you! The Winnipeg Jets are in a playoff position at American Thanksgiving. If you didn’t know 77 percent of teams who are in a playoff spot go to the post season. That means two teams in the West who are likely to fall out of the playoffs and miss their shot at winning it all. As of right now the only team I can see falling out is the St. Louis Blues.
It’s been a fun start to the Jets season. There are so many things going right for the Winnipeg Jets early on this season. The forwards are showing up and causing chaos, the defenders are finding the back of the net and turning on the Jets to defend. The goalies are finding ways to win games even with a sub-standard save percentage.
Of course there is that fear that the team will collapse after the all-star break but we won’t worry about that until it comes.
But through the first 18 games of the season I think we can safely say there’s only been a handful of games the team “deserved” to lose those being the first game against the Vegas Golden Knights the win over the Buffalo Sabres and even the OT win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since then we have seen a fairly consistent game from the Jets.
The real question is do the Jets have the ingredients to not only make the post season but can they make a deep run?
The even strength systems are working.
The first period is a little slow but that’s just the Jets lulling their opponents into the trap. The second period (which is the Jets best period) the Jets will own who ever they are playing offensively with their cycle which is so fun to watch. In the third the Jets just lock it down. There’s mistakes but the team has been supporting everyone to make sure those mistakes don’t lead to blown leads.
Not only are the systems working but the four forward lines are generating chances. David Gusstafsson wins important faceoffs and gets the team moving.
A top five defender and a strong D- core
Josh Morrissey is continuing to be a top five defender in the NHL. In both ends of the ice he is crushing it. He is eating up 24 minutes worth of ice time a night and the points are still coming from the Calgary native. If you want that deep run you need that number one defender to be a top five defender.
It also helps that Morrissey helps with the offensive side of the game. In 18 games this season the Jets number one defenceman has three goals and 18 points. What that man on the ice he is here there and everywhere while very rarely missing assinments. If he does miss them he has the forward group and his partner Dylan DeMelo covering him.
With the defenders it very much feels like work together or die alone. The Jets top four has been solid they have only allowed 500 shots against which is sixth best in the NHL this season.
I know some folks aren’t too impressed with Dylan Samberg this season. Give the kid some time to grow in the NHL but if it’s not working for him the defensive depth is truly there with Ville Heinola when he gets healthy.
If you don’t want those young guys in the line up for a playoff run the Jets have the cupboards full right now and could make a trade for strong right shot defensive defenceman who could shore up the second pairing and make Samberg or Nate Schmidt the seventh defenceman.
Rocket Richard Runner up
Kyle Connor still leads the NHL in scoring with Toronto Maple Leaf Auston Matthews both men have 14 goals. The analytic community doesn’t think KFC will win the Rocket Richard but there is a chance for him to be a top five scorer in the NHL.
You don’t need a top scorer to win it all (it sure helps). A top five scorer is an absolute necessity to have a successful playoff run. The beauty of Connor is he is consistent at scoring and although the defence from him isn’t phenomenal you can see the hustle from the American born player. Watch for him making little plays in his own zone and the coverage you can see from him when he switches spots with Morrissey.
Get us a hot goalie
The one thing I hear from the Hellebuyck haters is “that guy never shows up for the post season.” Which is just wrong maybe he’s not making those clutch saves but he still has a .916 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average.
Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit don’t have great numbers as a whole this season. Hellebuyck would finally cross the .900 save percentage this season with his win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 22nd. Although he is an elite goaltender it has taken some for him to cook this season.
Let’s just have a moment of hope let’s say the Jets don’t fall off the cliff and stay consistently good this season. If the Jets look like they are a lock for the playoffs by the trade deadline. The Jets could let Hellebuyck rest for a large chunk of the season and be rested and ready to go.
Hellebuyck hasn’t gone into the post season well-rested. Imagine if he did. Or what would it be like to see Brossoit get the start for game one because he lead the team with a winning record late into the season.
This team has two able goaltenders and either one of them could get red hot going into the post season and at this point that’s all a team needs. Just a goalie or goalies getting hot at the right time.
Long and short I think with an upgrade to the defenders I think the ingredients are there for a deep playoff run for the Jets.
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