by Ryan Reyes
Oh Jets, you just had to tease us with a 7 game winning streak to end the season didn’t you? Were they clicking on all cylinders? Was their goaltending now decent? Were they playing something resembling defence? It was a little bit of each but maybe it mostly had to do with the fact that there was no longer any pressure on the team.
Regardless of any analysis, that nice little run did one thing for sure; it helped Jets management solidify their stance on extending head coach Paul Maurice’s contract this summer. Anything Paul Maurice-related in the latter third of the season was discussed and debated with much passion by fans and media alike: Patrik Laine not being in the first power play unit, Nic Petan continuously scratched in favour of Chris Thorburn and the aforementioned extension speculation.
I’d have to agree with my colleague Allan Madriaga; let’s extend Maurice and see what he can do with our talented young core AND some average goaltending.
Right, ok, I can hear detractors saying “PoMo’s track record has been one of consistently below-average results with teams that did have young talent and bad goaltending in the past; eg. Carolina.” Let’s just say my leash would be shorter than True North’s.
It’s understandable why Winnipeg’s fanbase has little patience left. It’s been 6 years(but 6 years isn’t too long for me if we’re creating a dynasty!). It didn’t help that we overachieved a couple of years ago and were swept by Anaheim. It sure doesn’t feel right when we were gifted by the hockey gods with a player as exciting & talented as Hatrik Laine only for the team to fizzle out of playoff contention. Heightened expectations. I get it. Allan gets it too: we’ve done well with the drafting part, now we’re in the thick of the developing stage and sooner or later it’s going to be domination time. I’m fine with The Hockey News’ prediction of 2019 being the year that the Jets hoist the Stanley Cup on the corner of Portage & Main aren’t you?
Fast Facts Part I
Winnipeg had a better record this year:
?2016-17- 40 Wins- 35 Losses- 7 OT Losses- 3 SO Wins- 87 Points
?2015-16- 5 Wins- 39 Losses- 8 OT Losses- 3 SO Wins- 78 Points
Fast Facts Part II
The Jets finished with 4 players that had 60 points or more:
?Mark Scheifele 32 Goals + 50 Assists = 82 Points
?Blake Wheeler 26 Goals + 48 Assists = 74 Points
?Nikolaj Ehlers 25 Goals + 39 Assists = 64 Points
?Patrik Laine 36 Goals + 28 Assists = 64 Points
Future Jets Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic and Eric Comrie all performed fine in their late season call-ups with the Jets; each played a single game. Connor scored a goal in his, Roslovic didn’t look out of place, and Comrie earned the win in his game. I feel Connor has a higher chance to make the senior squad next year compared to Roslovic. Don’t kid me, both would be nice. While Comrie will blossom with the Moose next season and be ready to compete for an NHL job in 2018-19.
Who will the Jets leave unprotected in the Expansion Draft: Perreault or Lowry?
Will they somehow keep both by offering Las Vegas a side deal? That’s my wish.
Which goaltender do you want the Jets to pick up?
Are you as excited as I am in seeing how Tucker Poolman pans out?
Let me know your thoughts by tweeting me at @FJRyanReyes.
Photos by Mike Macaraeg | Filipino Journal