Do not listen to the media; the Winnipeg Jets are not a Stanley Cup contender in their current iteration. They are an average team at best and might be closer to a bad team than even cynical me would care to admit.
The above table shows us some basic advanced stats about the Jets with a more detailed link at the bottom of the article. The important takeaway from this chart is the fact that the Jets are below 50% corsi for on that season, even though it is barely under the 50% threshold.
The Jets are not a bad team like the title suggests, but a flawed team that can get by on talent alone. That is where the Jets are at as a team and it is so frustrating to watch. You can see that there is the skill there to win games. Unlike last season where the Jets would take over games and be hard to beat, they are the team reacting in games.
The above tweet has a chart that shows the Jets expected 5v5 goal differential. The Jets have had a few strong spots this season, but for the most part their play has indicated that they should be out-scored on most nights. This is the problem with the Jets.
The Jets should be a good team. On paper they have four solid lines and a passable group on defence along with a good goalie. The problem with the Jets is the small pieces that were missing last year were amplified this year. The Jets have had a problem with their second line centre for a couple seasons now and it became a bigger issue this season. Bryan Little is a fine player, but he is not a good fit with his linemates. It’s an odd issue, but it is an issue all the same.
The other major piece the Jets are missing is on defence. It is not the fact that Toby Enstrom had left and was never replaced; it’s the fact that the Jets are playing players well above where they should fall on the depth chart instead of looking for more help. Joe Morrow is not the type of player that should be a regular in a NHL lineup. He was not a regular for the Montreal Canadiens before being traded to the Jets and even then he became the seventh defenceman. He is now as close to a regular as he has ever been and this is a team that is supposed to be contending for a Stanley Cup.
The Jets might not be able to be fixed at the trade deadline. There are too many issues with the team for them to trade for one player and go on a long run in the playoffs. The Jets are a few players away from being a contender and they are further away from winning the Stanley Cup than they were last season.
The Winnipeg Jets are bad. They are not missing the playoffs bad, but they are also not in a position to even win a round in the playoffs this season. Any move they make right now is putting lipstick on a pig. The real work to turn this team into a contender again will be this off-season. Until then, the Jets are what they are.