I will admit it, I am not a massive Adam Lowry fan. I feel like he is given too much credit for being a good player simply because he is big and is not a useless plug. However, the past few games have shown just how important he is to the balance of the Winnipeg Jets roster and allowing certain players to play roles they are better suited for.
When Lowry went down with an injury, the Jets were already without Mark Scheifele which has helped contribute to their recent two game losing streak. Lowry is not nearly as important as Scheifele, but his importance to the Jets balance should not be understated. He is capable of starting in the defensive zone and playing on the penalty kill. He brings a balance to the offence that is needed.
The biggest problem I have with Lowry is usage. He is the third line centre. While the Jets are fine with him there, if he was the fourth line centre they would be optimizing their lineup even more. Lowry would be a fantastic fourth line centre who drives play and matches up against the opposition in the defensive zone.
The issue is not Lowry, but the Jets stubborn decision to not try to gain more offence from their bottom six. If their bottom six was composed of more players like Mathieu Perreault when the Jets are not plagued by injuries, then they would be capable to generating even more offence. The top six has been more than capable of destroying teams with their awesomeness and the bottom six has been able to pitch in when needed, but is it sustainable over the long term?
The Jets have very few problems and their bottom six is not even a problem. The truth is the Jets could be a better team than they are now, but that is nitpicking. It would be nice to see the Jets produce even more offence from their bottom six, but it is not something that they need to win right now. Instead, their biggest need is a healthy lineup. To lose not one, but two centres is a difficult thing for any team to overcome. Thankfully the Jets have been able to because Blake Wheeler showed he was capable of stepping into Scheifele’s shoes and playing in that first line centre role and the young players have once again come into the lineup and done what the Jets need them to do.
Adam Lowry’s importance to the Jets lies in his ability to face opposition and play them evenly. He is not spectacular at anything, but taking any type of pressure off of the top six players is important, especially when they are still learning the art of defending at the NHL level. As they continue to improve defensively, Lowry’s ability to defend will be less needed overall, but still valued as it means the offensive players can spend more time scoring and less time defending.