Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Apr. 26

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned. 

UPDATE:  Paul Maurice confirmed this morning that Nikolaj Ehlers is out for the remainder of the regular season but confident he will return by the start of the playoffs.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets have lost 3 games in a row for the first time this season and there is a lot of gloom and doom amongst the Jets fan base.  Is there reason to be concerned?  I’ll let you know after their two game series against Edmonton this week.    

UPDATE:  The Winnipeg Jets were humiliated at home last night by the Edmonton Oilers (6-1) and are now in 3rd place and it looks like they will be facing the Oilers in the first round with Edmonton having home-ice advantage.  Right now there aren’t too many Jets fans that think we can beat Edmonton in a 7-games series after suffering their 5th consecutive loss to the McDavids.  This is starting to feel a lot like Edmonton vs Winnipeg 1.0.

2. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets had two home games last week versus Toronto and lost them both leaving no doubt that Toronto is probably the the top team in the North Division.  That didn’t taste very good coming out.  The Jets are now 8 points behind Toronto for first and will now have to set their sights on holding on to second place.  The Jets are currently 1 point ahead of third place Edmonton with the Oilers having two games in hand.  Winnipeg plays Edmonton twice at home this week starting tonight.  These next two games could determine who gets home-ice in their probable first-round match-up.  Their overall record currently sits at 27-17-3. 

3. JetsAfter back to back loses versus Toronto AGAIN, I think that makes 6 or 7 straight losses at home against the Leafs leaving Winnipeg’s home-ice record at a very underwhelming 11-9-2.  This team has a much better record on the road which makes no sense.  Actually there is a lot of things about this team that make no sense right now.  I guess an optimist might say it is better to go through this shitty stretch now than in the playoffs.  The only problem is there is no magic switch to turn it around and that is what concerns me.        

4. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose played 2 games this past week versus Stockton and won them both improving their record to 13-11-2-0 on the season.  Cole Perfetti continued his strong play notching 2 goals and 2 assists in the two games improving his totals to 8 goals, 13 assists, for 21 points in 26 games.  Perfetti looks very comfortable now at the AHL level and maybe he isn’t too far away from taking the next step.   

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5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. Jets:  The Jets last good game was their 5-2 victory in Toronto on April 15.  Where has that team gone?

7. Jets:  As the games get heavier Kyle Conner becomes less visible and it scares me.  This reminds me of his play versus Calgary in the bubble although I will give him credit for attempting to come to Blake Wheeler’s aid on Thursday night.  I liked pissed off KC but the Jets just need KC to be KC.     

8. Jets:  Jordie Benn made his Winnipeg Jets debut on Thursday vs Toronto and taking into consideration he hasn’t played in a month I’m not going to overanalyze his play but it wasn’t great.  I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen him play a few more games but he looks like a depth defenceman as advertised.  He is still better than some of our depth guys from last season though.  The more I think about that dog’s breakfast of a blueline last year the more I appreciate our current group.   

9. Jets:  I’m officially done with Tucker Poolman.  Right now I would put him behind Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk, Dylan DeMelo, Ville Heinola, Logan Stanley,  Dylan Samberg , and whatever UFA they sign or defenceman they trade for during the off-season.  I think he has probably reached his ceiling but one thing is certain, he is probably better suited as a third pairing defenceman.  It isn’t his fault he is being deployed above his pay grade, that is on Paul Maurice.  Poolman is 27-years-old and pending UFA but with a well stocked Manitoba Moose team, I’m not sure I bring him back.   

10. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s message being lost on this team?  Many think so and think it is time for a new voice.     

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11.NHL:  NHL officiating is at an all-time low for me right now and it was on full display last week in Winnipeg.  I don’t know what Graham Skilliter and Marc Joannette were watching on Thursday but they were brutal.  The hooking, interference, and dirty play that the Leafs got away with was amazing.  I haven’t complained much about officiating this season because it is usually bad both ways but in this game it seemed very one-sided.  The non-call on Nick Foligno after pile-driving Josh Morrissey from behind was a head-shaker.  I don’t why I’m even surprised anymore.   

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 16 – End of the regular season
  • May ?? – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  I know Winnipeg fans aren’t going to want to hear this but even though the team has some terrific prospects in the pipeline I’m a little concerned about this team moving forward.  As much as we are enjoying the Canadian Division the truth is it isn’t very good, probably the weakest of the four.  Next year the Jets will be back in the Central Division with tougher teams like Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota, and improving teams like Chicago, Arizona and Nashville.  I hate to say it but this team is going to be in tough to get a wild-card spot. 

14. Jets:  I mentioned it last week and I’ll mention it again, but one of the early season surprises, Derek Forbort, is really struggling right now.  He looks slower than usual and is coughing up the puck more and more.  I think the grind of playing big minutes against the other team’s top lines has finally caught up with him.  It is time to get Ville Heinola into the lineup.  Just for shits and giggles, I would love to see him play alongside Neal Pionk.  There would be some sweet puck movement there.   

15. Jets:  Schedule

Update:  The May 7 game vs Ottawa has been re-scheduled to Monday, April 5.  This is due to the two postponed Vancouver games this week.

16. Jets:  When Dustin Byfuglien left the Winnipeg Jets it looks like he took their hearts and souls with him.  I know this sounds harsh and might be motivated by the team’s uninspired play lately but this team has no jam and the way they let Toronto push them around in their own barn was very disheartening to watch and I know I’m not alone in thinking this. 

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

These are the Winnipeg Jets rankings within the seven team Canadian Division.  Since all games played during the regular season are divisional the rest of the league’s numbers don’t really matter.

  • PP: 2nd at 25.20% down from 26.10% last week.
  • PK: 1st at 81.10 up from 80.30% last week. 
  • FO: 5th at 49.60 up from 49.50% last week.

18. Jets:  It is going to be interesting to see what pending RFA, Neal Pionk and his camp will be looking for in his next contract?  He is undoubtedly looking at Josh Morrissey’s contract and licking his lips.  Does he sign a bridge deal or does he sign a long-term deal?  Stay tuned.    

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  21-13-3 … 2.58 GAA … .917 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  6-4-0 … 2.47 GAA … .920 SV%

We’re not going to speak of Helle’s adventures against Toronto, as far as I’m concerned it never happened.

20. Jets:  There would be no bigger cure for the angst in Jetsville than a couple of victories over the hated Edmonton McDraisaitls this week.  I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of losing to Edmonton and Toronto.       

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In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch
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