Hello friends. I wish I had a winning recap to share with you! Unfortunately, the Winnipeg Jets got outplayed by the San Jose Sharks, dropping the second game of the season. I know it’s early and all, but things aren’t looking too great in some of the departments I’d expected improvements in. The special teams were dreadful and Hellebuyck looked mortal again. Given what occurred with the Ducks a few nights ago, you can guess what happened against a better Sharks team. The scarier thought is that San Jose and Anaheim are both rebuilding, and both outclassed the re-tooled Jets roster by a significant margin. The game against the Sharks, in particular, saw Winnipeg get obliterated in the latter half of the outing. Here are some takeaways from another tough start to the season.
- Winnipeg looks very disjointed and disoriented. The shift from passive, drop-deep hockey to an up-tempo gamestyle has thrown much of the team for a loop. Worryingly, the line combos don’t really support a faster, more aggressive approach. Anyone expect Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler to hold out playing this way is in for a rude awakening.
- The special teams nightmare isn’t getting better. If you were hoping for an improved penalty kill, oh dear. The PP and PK weren’t the sole reasons for the Jets getting smoked this evening, but they certainly made Winnipeg’s job a lot harder than it needed to be.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois had a pretty beastly game. We’ve been waiting to see what the talented centre can bring when he’s at his best. Dubois showcased his strength, impressive edgework, and stickhandling for much of the evening against San Jose. Let’s hope he keeps on keepin’ on.
- Perfetti got demoted towards the end of the game, despite being one of the more creative Jets forwards. Naturally, his replacement in Harkins scored an extremely fluky goal that will likely ensure Cole is meeting the Moose soon. I hope Perfetti is eventually given a chance to thrive with genuine talent. His one shift with Connor and Scheifele nearly resulted in a quick goal. Makes you think!
- If Hellebuyck has an off year, the team’s cooked. It’s too early to be worried about his struggles thus far, but I’m still worrying all the same because there are zero NHL-calibre backups to fill the void. The Jets are one bad stretch or injury away from complete disaster. Chevy needs to find a stopgap somewhere as soon as possible.
- The new blueline unit is still a work in progress. You can tell the guys haven’t played much together, and some of the pairings lack any sort of chemistry. This should resolve itself over time, but the Jets will want to make some adjustments to the personnel orientations if things don’t improve. Might I suggest a look at Heinola over Stanley?
- Winnipeg is going to have to endure some bleak streaks as the team adapts to the more aggressive approach. Given all that, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns about the team’s ability to adjust to that style. Until the lineup is reorganized to fit the system, the Jets will likely continue to crack under pressure.