The Winnipeg Jets went 2 – 1 on their three game Western road trip with two tough wins against the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, but also a surprisingly loss to the Los Angeles Kings. If you told any fan in September that we’d be first in the conference going into Christmas, improving each week, and relatively healthy, I think we’d all have agreed that constitutes a very, merry holiday season. In honour of the holiday season, let’s choose one (Christmas) and set our Christmas wishes for some of the Jets, weaving in our anxiety level when appropriate, using the arbitrary three-level anxiety scale:
Not At All Worried
Panic/Losing Sleep Worried
Mark Scheifele – Wish - Hart Trophy, all star game, all star team. All of these are in play for our only true superstar. He’s amazing and we’re very lucky to have him. Not worried at all about him.
Blake Wheeler – Wish – A few more goals. Tied for the league lead in assists, but, he has such a great shot, I’d like to see him get closer to the 20 goal mark. Not worried at all about him.
Bryan Little – Wish – A set of DVD’s with Paul Stastny Jet highlights. They are different players, but, Little needs a reminder that he’s the second line center on a contender. Like Stastny was. Time to start playing like one. Moderately to panic level worried.
Patrick Laine – Wish – That some kind of Freaky Friday situation happens where a magic fortune cookie gives him Mathieu Perreault’s work ethic and two way game, while still keeping his goal scoring ability. There is a longer piece to write about Laine, but, I’m panic level worried about what to do about him long term. I disagree with the contention that he’s a “superstar”, therefore untouchable. He’s not a superstar. Connor McDavid is. Mark Scheifele is. Laine is not. He’s an exceptional goal scorer who brings little else to the table. When he doesn’t score he’s basically a liability to his linemates. Fire away at me in the comments, but, ask yourself in terms of value to the team, where does he rank? I’d say he’s the probably the seventh most important Jet. Yet he’s going to command the highest salary.
Andrew Copp – Wish – Return to full health. Concussions are tricky. Hope he recovers fully and quickly. Moderately to panic worried.
Jacob Trouba – Wish – That he remains a Jet long term, and we can figure out a way to pay him. Moderately to panic worried about that though.
Dmitri Kulikov – Wish – Health for the rest of the season. He’s actually a decent third pairing defenseman, and makes Tyler Myers decent. Moderately worried though based on his past injuries.
Connor Hellebuyck – Wish – That the play of his back up and friend Laurent Brossoit motivates him to elevate his play. He’s a Vezina finalist from last year but is not playing like it. I’m not trying to start a goaltender controversy here, but, look at the numbers:
Player: GP GAA Save Percentage
Connor Hellebuyck 27 2.90 0.909
Laurent Brossoit 10 2.11 0.939
There are lots of reasons for this that are not just about the goaltending. On a positive note it’s comforting to have a solid back up goalie. I am moderately worried that unless Hellebuyck steps up his game a bit, a long playoff run will be tough.
What did I miss? Where am I off base? Let us know in the comments. I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season.