Cheveldayoff not moving any defencemen in the summer was a mistake
Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose1 month ago
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The Winnipeg Jets have embarked on the current NHL season with a less than ideal 2-3 record that doesn’t reflect their true potential. While the offense has been a bright spot, their Achilles’ heel has been an underperforming defense, making the need for a certified top defenseman, especially one with a right shot, all the more pressing.
The Jets’ offensive game has been a bright spot, ranking 12th in NHL scoring with 16 goals in five games. Players like Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Alex Iafallo have shone, the Jets have some fire power and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, the Jets have been held back by their struggling defense. They currently stand as the fifth-worst team in goals against, having conceded 21 goals in just five games. Those goals against have cost the Jets at least two games. This alarming trend has raised questions about the team’s prospects for sustained success in the regular and post season.
Brendan Dillon’s Underwhelming Performance
I will start this off by saying I like Dillon. He has been a good presence in the back end for the Jets even before the season started I was a/ok with him being traded to improve the team and open up the log jam for the defenders.
Brendan Dillon, signed to be the physical presence the Jets needed on the blue line, has fallen short of expectations with the puck. With a concerning minus-seven rating and a Corsi For % (CF%) of 36.5%, his play has not justified his $3.9 million contract. His high percentage of defensive zone starts (70.4%)can be a reason for the low CF% but this is what he is paid to do, yet his performance has not measured up.
The physicality has always been there like always and the willingness to 14 block shots has been pivotal to his game this season.
Nate Schmidt’s Struggles
Nate Schmidt has also faced early-season struggles. Being healthy scratched, a minus-three rating, lack of offensive contributions, and only four shots on goal have caused concern, especially in light of his $5.9 million contract. While his offensive potential can be evident at times, Schmidt has grappled with mental mistakes that detract from his overall impact.
JETS NATION PRESENTED BY BETWAY Complementary Pieces
Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk have shown their worth as complementary pieces to the Jets’ defensive unit and there would be unimaginable damage to the core if they were traded. The club and the fans are still waiting on the full emergence of Dylan Samberg and the leadership of Josh Morrissey there is a great foundation for the D-core moving forward.
The Jets are missing a piece in their defensive puzzle Kyle Capobianco. The two-way? defender has been lighting up the AHL with three goals, and six points in four games. He has the speed and the hockey IQ to be a full time NHLer and the Jets are wasting his talent in the AHL.
The Way Forward
The path forward for the Winnipeg Jets is clear: identify and secure a certified defensive defenseman. Ideally a right-handed shot defender. This key addition can be the linchpin that shores up the team’s defensive efforts and brings more balance to their overall game. They will also need to find a way to open the defensive log jam, and be willing to trade a first round pick, a prospect and as well as Dillon and Schmidt.
Conclusion: Balancing Act
The Winnipeg Jets are close to becoming a complete and contending team. Addressing the defensive deficiencies through trades is imperative for their long-term success. Early-season struggles serve as a valuable wake-up call, an opportunity for the team to address their vulnerabilities and harness their potential.
The Jets can transition from a team with promise to a team that genuinely contends for the NHL’s top honors it just needs to happen sooner rather than later.
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