This was supposed to be a regular recap and then I realized I had nothing written period to period, but had a lot of thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets overall and the game in particular. So, a ranting recap.
The Winnipeg Jets are too good to be bad this year, but they have definitely taken a step back from last year and it is not because of the Swede who will not be named left. There are a lot more problems than that.
On the surface, the Jets have a good roster and a lot of good pieces, but they seem to not know how to use these pieces effectively. Look at Patrik Laine for example. Murat Ates wrote today about how he needs to play with a possession driver right now. Laine is 20. Mark Scheifele was a rookie at 20. Laine has a 104 NHL goals already and he turns 21 in April. Yes, he has “struggled” this year, but for Laine “struggling” means 24 goals in 44 games. Most teams would take that type of production from a 20 year old over 82 games.
The Jets also have some problems on defence that are currently amplified by injury. However, there is another victim of Dustin Byfuglien’s injury: Sami Niku. Now, Niku will make mistakes because he is a 22 year old rookie, but the Jets are making it harder on him by calling him up and keeping him in the press box until there is a second injury on defence and they need someone to play. At 22, he should be playing every game and if the Jets think he needs more time in the AHL then they should give it to him and call someone else up. Tucker Poolman is still out with a concussion, so he is not available for press box duty.
The Jets look like a victim of a lack of planning. Their talent is there, but they have lost some of their depth which makes it harder to weather injuries. While they are winning games, something looks off when doing it. It is not one thing and it is hardly fatal, but this is how you close a Stanley Cup window when it is opening. Yes, the Jets beat the Detroit Red Wings, but they got outplayed. If that happens against one of the worse teams in the league, what happens against the top teams?