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Player Review: Nikolaj Ehlers

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Can the Dane bounce back next season?

Winnipeg Jets v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nikolaj Ehlers had a tough season for the Winnipeg Jets, at least at when it came to putting up points. He only scored 37 points including 21 goals in 62 games. He took a major step back and if this continues, it will become a concern for the Jets. However, this drop-off could be because he played 20 fewer games and had a little over 20 fewer points from the previous two seasons.

Player Season Team Position GP TOI G A P P1 P/60 P1/60 GS GS/60 CF CA C+/- CF% Rel CF%
NIKOLAJ.EHLERS 2018-2019 WPG L 62 863.67 16 10 26 21 1.81 1.46 36.08 2.51 867 785 82 52.48 3.84

As you can see, while Ehlers did not put up points this year, he did drive possession and managed to stay above water even after the Jets started to fall down near the end of the season. This is impressive for Ehlers as he has been a regular linemate of Patrik Laine who has struggled at driving anything but pucks into the net for the past three seasons. Because of that, a second contributing factor in Ehlers struggle to put up points could be tied to Laine’s struggle to score goals.

Beyond the points issue, Ehlers looked off this year at times. He did not look bad, but just like something was not working properly. Maybe that thing that was not working properly was his partnership with Laine as both players looked better when apart instead of together. Sometimes that is the case with two players: they look like they should be compatible on the ice and then just not click for whatever reason and it appears that is what the Jets have with Ehlers and Laine.

The good news for the Jets is they have Ehlers in a cost-controlled situation for six seasons and while $6 million is a lot of money, he should improve a bit and even if he only bounces back it is good bang for the Jets buck. What they should not do is explore trading Ehlers after this year because he did struggle and you should never trade a player at their lowest value. A better idea would be to let him bounce back and see what type of player he is because he should remain the player that we all thought he was.