Adam Lowry is a good NHL player and found success on the Winnipeg Jets this year playing in specific roles. He found success on the powerplay playing a specific role in front of the net. While many, myself included, wanted Nic Petan to get a fair shot on the powerplay, Lowry showed he has the size and skill to handle a job that does not necessarily need the most skilled player. His work on the third line was unexceptional, but maybe the problem was beyond Lowry and also tied to the players he was playing with and against.
While the Jets tend to match Bryan Little against other teams top lines, Lowry is the assumed heir to this role. It might not be ideal for him because his five on five production does not justify him playing Little’s minutes. He might prove to be fine at shutting down other players with time, but it might not be worth the likely offence that would be sacrificed. What might work is a slight change in role for all the centres. Instead of worrying about hard-matching lines (meaning having certain players defend against other players), the Jets could focus on zone-matching meaning they would focus on getting as much offence out of Mark Scheifele as possible. This requires the right wingers and defencemen, but it does give a set role to Lowry that emphasizes defence without sacrificing the Jets offence as a whole.
Lowry’s season look a lot like most of the Jets: started out on fire and then petered off. This points to their being a change to the team itself and not just certain players falling off as the season wore on. Much like the end of the season when the defence was dilapidated, total team collapses should bring attention to those who do not collapse with the team rather than the idea that everyone has collapsed because that points to an exceptionality with those players. In this case, Lowry is not exceptional, but he can play at a NHL level albeit not in the role he is currently cast.
Adam Lowry is a bit of an enigma because he is actually good as a net front presence on the power play, but is not a top nine forward on a good team. He is probably a bit like Mark Letestu in that sense. While people might bemoan his usage on the power play, he has a unique skill and that should be exploited. Lowry probably does not need to be protected in the expansion draft; there will be other players of a greater skill who will be exposed. It should be recognized that he has a unique skillset that helps the Jets and just because he is not a top nine player skill-wise does not mean that he should not be on the power play if he finds genuine success there.