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It’s been another seven days and a few things happened with the Winnipeg Jets. Including being the only team in top spot in the Central Division, Saku Maenalanen scored his first goal with the Winnipeg Jets, and it turns out Pierre-Luc Dubois is the best kind of rat. I’ve got a few too many thoughts and I’m going to share them with you.

Saku Maenalanen

Maenalanen has been one of the best off-season pickups for Kevin Cheveldayoff. Meanalanen has finally been rewarded for his hard work with his first goal of the season. The goal came during the second period against the Dallas Stars with a beautiful tip in front of the net. It had been 1,393 days between goals for the Finnish-born player.
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Maenalanen has been a physical force in his first 14 games with the Jets averaging 2.7 hits a game while also keeping level head by only drawing one penalty all season long.  The combination of Axel Jonsson-Fjallby being a pair of wingers who have been sparks for both the third and fourth lines. With 59 percent of all his starts in the defensive zone for Maenalanen paired with the fact that he is a big body who sits in front of the opposing team’s net it’s impressive he manages to get a shot on the net almost night. It’s hard to believe a guy who was barely a blip on the radar when he signed his two-way deal with the Jets on July 19th, 2022. Can the 28-year-old secure another contract with the Jets? I sure hope so, Maenalanen has shown through the early part of the season that he may not score a lot but he can give the Jets a big shot of energy when they need it. If the Jets are a playoff team he is going to be the secret weapon for the Jets.
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Is it time to bring up Big Bad Brad?

During Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Kraken forward Mason Appleton was close-lined by his stick when it got stuck in the hole in the glass for the time timekeeper’s box. If Nikolaj Ehlers and Appleton are out I think it’s time to give the 30th overall draft pick a shot to play with the Jets. Brad Lambert was fun to watch during the preseason and now that he is feeling better and back up to game speed maybe it’s time to give the young and talented forward a chance in the top six.
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Through six games with the Manitoba Moose, Lambert has two goals and an assist. It might not overly benefit the Jets now but could benefit them in the future. Just getting Lambert’s feet wet in the NHL. If the Ehlers and Appleton are out for a few games do you want Sam Gagner taking over as the right winger on the top line? As much as I love Sam Gagner I just don’t see the benefit of him playing in the top six. Gagner has taken over for Appleton when there has been an injury or the Jets need a bit of a spark. Gagner has spent time playing against great talent but he doesn’t have the talent at this point in his career he should not spend a full game on the top lines.  If you’re worried about burning one of ELC years Lambert would have to play at least nine games to burn a year on the contract. #BringupBrad.

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Pierre-Luc Dubois is a player everyone wants

Dubois is the type of player all 31 other NHL teams want and it’s not just because he’s a big body who can score. Dubois is a bully and a bit of a rat. During the game against the Kraken on November 13th Dubois would draw the final penalty of the game which would lead to the game-tying goal. The Quebec-born player was being a pest in front of the net and gave Carson Soucy a shot to the chest with his shoulder and Soucy would punch PLD in the back of the head.
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Dubois is the type of guy who lives to get under the skin of his opponents and can draw clutch penalties. Dubois was tied for first with Connor McDavid for most drawn penalties with 50 last season. When you’re a skilled pest guys will pick on you, there are times when you retaliate and get caught like PLD did last season when he drew the most penalties last season. The ability to draw penalties is a skill you don’t think about a lot but is an essential tool to have. The only downside is some times it backfires on you and you get caught being a rat. The risk is worth the reward. The Jets were on their way to losing this game with Martin Jones playing as well as he did. If Dubois gets caught interfering with Soucy the Jets lose during the penalty kill. The Jets caught a break this time and made the most of it we got to see Blake Wheeler’s 300th career goal and the Jets took that game into overtime and ultimately won.
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The Jets won the Dubois and Patrik Laine trade. Dubois has come in and has scored goals, run over players and has been incredibly helpful for the Jets when he doesn’t have the puck.

Congrats to Blake Wheeler for scoring number 300

The game against the Kraken was a big one for Blake Wheeler he scored his 300th career goal. Wheeler who has been with the Jets since the team came back in 2011 has been one of the best players for the Jets. Wheeler may not be the captain anymore but seeing him play with the grit and detemination that he does I can’t wait to see number 26 to hang from the rafters. If the Jets can pull off a miracle in the spring and win it all Wheeler better be the first man to touch the cup. Hopefully we can see goal 350 before Wheeler calls it a career.
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