After two lacklustre performances against the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild, the Jets won a tough 4-3 game against the Edmonton Oilers on New Year’s Eve. Kudos to Brendan Lemieux for his first two goal game, and for scoring the type of “ugly” goals that are needed, especially in the playoffs. Connor Hellebuyck made perhaps the best stop he has made all season essentially stealing the game from a shocked Leon Draisaitl in the last minute of the game. It is 2019, and the time to start projecting into April and what the Jets are going to look like come playoff time. Does that make you anxious? Excited? For me, it’s both. So, let’s check in with how I’m currently doing using our Weekly Jets Anxiety Check-In using the arbitrary three-level anxiety level scale:
Not At All Worried
Panic/Losing Sleep Worried
Dustin Byfuglien Injuries – Moderately to Panic Level Worried:
I did a bit of a double take when I confirmed that Buff has 29 points in 32 games this year. For comparison, our boy Patrick Laine has 31 in 39. Byfuglien is having an excellent offensive year. There is truly no player like him in the NHL. A 260 pound brute with a deft offensive touch and surprising skating ability for a man of that size. His value is most evident when playoffs roll around. Buff elevated to another level in the playoffs demonstrating why opposing forwards hate playing against him with his teeth rattling hits, and bouncer-like control of opponents. My anxiety stems from his injuries this season – a concussion, and what appears to be a knee injury that will take a minimum of four weeks to resolve. Without knowing the extent of the injury we cannot be sure that he’ll be back in four weeks, and when he is back, how the injury impact his game. My anxiety level goes up to 11 out of 10 thinking about starting a playoff series in Nashville, Minnesota, Calgary … without Buff.
Calgary Flames – Moderately Worried:
When did the team with the worst jerseys in the NHL become so good? 84 points last season, and this year tied for first place in the Western Conference with our Jets at the time of this posting. I expected improvement, but this much improvement has surprised me. They are fast, have balanced scoring in their top two lines, play tough and have had surprisingly good goaltending by David Rittich. At the risk of infuriating analytics experts, my biggest anxiety is that so far this season, the Flames seem to “have our number”. There may be some made up statistics to support this, but, at the end of the day they have beaten us easily twice this year. And the eye-test both times revealed a team with a hot goaltender that can keep pace with the Jets speed. That worries me. The road to the Stanley Cup may flow through Cowtown.
Trade Deadline – Moderately Worried:
The trade deadline is still almost two months away, so it’s too early to start speculating on specific trades. However, I am moderately worried about which direction the Jets should take approaching the deadline. There are many variables that can impact the types of players that teams may be targeting, or shopping leading up to the deadline. Nonetheless, a team like the Jets essentially has two choices: to make an impact trade, or not. Impact trade meaning acquiring a player or players that can help you win the Stanley Cup this year. Paul Stastny was that type of trade. As we learned, that type of trade comes with no guarantees, and at a significant cost. A high draft pick, a prime prospect, or a valuable roster player is the potential price for an impact player. Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but, trading Nic Petan will not get you an impact player in return. You will get that team’s version of Nic Petan. I’m not sure what the Jets should do at this point. What do you think? Impact trade? Ride with our current roster? Hope that some GM thinks Nic Petan can become the next Johnny Gaudreau? Let us know in the comments.