There are a lot of ways to look at the Winnipeg Jets and their current 5-6-1 record and 11th-spot in the Eastern Conference. While a lot of them would certainly be negative, perhaps one positive that can taken is that the Jets have tread water and haven't gotten themselves too far out of the race while waiting for top-4 defender Zach Bogosian to return.
Good news, sports fans. Bogo is a go-go. He will play tonight.
There is no question that the Jets have missed Bogosian on the blue-line, as his spot among their top-4 is not in question. Last season, he averaged the 3rd-highest TOI at 23:18 per game, while getting time on both the PP and the PK. In fact, he led the team in short-handed ice-time last season, playing 2:59 per game while down a man. The 22-year-old defender also added 5 goals, 25 assists while stabilizing a blue-line that needs all the help it can get.
When you realize that the Jets have played their first 12 games without Bogosian, and that five of those saw Dustin Byfuglien out of the lineup as well, it's actually kind of impressive that the Jets are where they are. When the team needs to rely on Ron Hainsey and Mark Stuart to play way heavier minutes than they're capable of, bad things are likely to happen. And when Paul Postma, Grant Clitsome and Zach Redmond are called upon to all dress in the same games, some defensive lapses are expected.
So it looks like these are the pairing for tonight's game, as per various reports on Twitter:
Byfuglien - Enstrom
Hainsey - Bogosian
Stuart - Redmond
Clitsome - Postma (pressbox)
Now that looks more like it. That is a top-4 that some teams might actually covet in the league. And the fact that Zach Redmond has jumped ahead of Grant Clitsome and Paul Postma on the depth-chart is music to my ears.
So what do we expect out of Bogo tonight? A goal? A fight? A penalty for being too excited and too strong? Will Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin turn-style him? Or will he crush one of them behind the net? Let us know what your expectations are in the comments section.
Welcome back Bogo. We missed you.