Are the Winnipeg Jets lacking a key ingredient for success?

Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose
5 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! On Monday Frank Seravalli was on the Barn Burner podcast with Flames Nation and the topic of the Winnipeg Jets came up. If you didn’t know this is the first time in both Jets 1.0 and 2.0 history that the club has sat on top of the National Hockey League.
Jump up to 38 minutes to get Franks full take on the Jets this season.

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I won’t delve into the current success of the team, as my focus is on a large silver cup being paraded around downtown Winnipeg in June.
Frank talks about the key ingredient the Jets are missing, which is “the Super Duper star.” He goes on to compare the Jets to the Carolina Hurricanes, making a fair assessment of the club. The difference is that the Jets have an elite talent in net with Connor Hellebuyck where the Canes haven’t had elite talent in net.
I get where Frank is coming from. If you are only watching one Jets game a week or every two weeks. You can look at this team and think they don’t have that guy who will over take a game to win it all for the team.Especially when the Jets are lacking their star forward Kyle Connor.
Yet as a guy who gets to watch every Jets game I’ll disagree and argue that the Jets do have two super duper stars this year. Kyle Connor and Connor Hellebuyck.


Super duper star Connor Hellebuyck

Folks love to suggest that you don’t need a great goaltender in order to win it all. They will look at you dead in the eyes and say “look at Adin Hill he won the Vegas Golden Knights a cup”. Yeah, he was the goalie who was in net when they won last year, but look at the previous cup finalists they needed an elite goaltender to get there. Vegas is a bit of an outlier here.
Even the teams who just got to the cup finals like the Florida Panthers without Sergei Bobrovsky are we talking about the miracle run the panthers went on or are we talking about the Boston Bruins being the greatest wagon of all time?
Your goalie can’t score you goals but he can keep you in a game or a series. If you look in the West who is better than Connor Hellebuyck? No one. Jake Ottinger would be Hellebuycks back-up in a team USA game. Other than that there is no one else that comes close to that talent besides maybe Laurent Brossoit and he’s not a starting goalie currently.
Connor Hellebuyck’s current run of picking up points in 13 straight games is the 76th best in NHL history; the longest streak is 27 games which is held by Philadelphia Flyers 1979-80 goaltender Pete Peeters . Furthermore allowing three or less goals against in 22 games has to be unprecedented. Even with four poor starts this season Hellebuyck has a .923 save percentage this season. If that falls off to a Hellebuyck modest .910 save percentage for the playoffs that’s really all you need to go out there and win it.
By basically every metric Hellebuyck is playing an elite player who is playing to highest standard. He is a super duper star and without him where would this team be? Probably not on top of the NHL.

Super duper star Kyle Connor

Kyle Connor who is the player who is considered to be the Jets number one forward and a guy who can take control of a game to win it. In his 26 games played he had 28 points and was only looking to get better. Through the 26 games he was on pace for 88 points in 82 games but we could have seen more production from the Michigan native. Before his injury I had started an article questioning if he could go out and score not just 100 points but look for 110 points in a healthy season.
As well all know Connor would see that lofty goal fade away with a horrific knee on knee injury from Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Strome.
Let’s just sit down and think about what could have been if that injury never happens. Nikolaj Ehlers ends up on the second line and we get to see Mark Scheifele, Gabe Vilardi and KFC on the same line for an extended period. Chemistry is built up between them and we probably get to see the best version of all three of those players.
Someone is going to be mad I am going to make this comparison but our forward Connor is the light version of Connor McDavid. Both men have that speed, and that dangerous shot that can come out of nowhere. Kyle Connor has the ability to change the game for the Jets most nights. His absurd 16.7 percent shooting percentage may have come down to a more reasonable 15 percent the guy would have scored 45 goals on 300 shots.
Connor has more than enough runway after his injury to get back up to speed for the playoffs. He can be that guy with healthy line mates.
If your definition of “super duper” star is a player drafted in the top three, yeah the Jets are missing that piece. This writer thinks The two Connor’s are the elite talent this team needs to go all the way and win it. Add in the structure from Rick Bowness and this team will do what the Hurricane couldn’t do and go to the finals.
If you disagree with me and say the Jets are lacking the highest talent on their team. Let me ask you one question, who
Feb 1, 2020; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) and Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) look on during warm up before a game against the St. Louis Blues at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
was it for the Vegas Golden Knights last season, the Dallas Stars during the covid bubble and the St. Louis Blues in 2019?

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