Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Feb. 8

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.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets had a great week taking 5 out of 6 points in their three games versus the Calgary Flames.  Their record is a tidy 7-3-1 overall for the season, good for 3rd place in the Scotia North Division.

2. Jets:  Tomorrow night is PLD’s debut in a Jets jersey against the Flames in Calgary.  I’m sure he will be chomping at the bit to impress his new teammates and try and help Jets fans move on from fan favourite, Patrik Laine.     

3. JetsI think it’s time to put Neal Pionk back on the first unit PP.  I’ve always been a huge Josh Morrissey supporter but his game is off and he looks really shaky quarterbacking the PP.        

4. Jets:  No offence to my American friends but I could really get used to these North Division games with only one anthem.

5. Jets:  Nathan Beaulieu, at times this season has been playing some unspectacular but steady defence for the Winnipeg Jets.  Nate’s signing wasn’t my favourite move Chevy made this offseason but I get why they signed him.  Paul Maurice trusts him and likes the fact that he can kill penalties and add a little bit of physicality to the back end.  So far he has done that but he is a depth guy and doesn’t need to be in the lineup every night.  My problem with NB is the more he plays the worse he gets and I  would like to see Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg dress a little more and see more rotation in the bottom pairing.  Generally, this sorts itself out with injuries allowing some lineup changes but outside of Tucker Poolman (Covid) the back-end has been pretty healthy.  I don’t like young players on the sidelines not playing.  

6. Jets:  One of my biggest complaints about this Jets team is they don’t shoot enough and pass up too many shooting opportunities in prime scoring areas.  This team still loves looking for the pretty play.    

7. Jets:  Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers is turning into a solid 200 ft player and it really showed in the Jets 4-1 win versus Calgary on Thursday night.  Although he was held off the scoresheet he made two outstanding defensive plays that went under the radar but were very important in the Jets’ win.  Ehlers has come a long way defensively since his junior days in Halifax.   

8. Jets:  Mason Appleton’s play has really improved this season and especially the last week to ten days and I think his play in the Jets 4-1 win over Calgary on Thursday night was probably his best game in a Winnipeg uniform.      

9. Jets:  To most fans’ surprise, Logan Stanley is still hanging around and playing some pretty strong hockey in his d-zone.  He has made a lot of nice subtle plays that seem to almost go unnoticed just because of his long reach.  His play is definitely surprising a lot of people.     

10. Jets:  Josh Morrissey has 4 assists in 11 games and he is running the first unit PP while Neal Pionk has 8 assists in 11 games and he is running the second unit PP.  What is wrong with this picture?  (see #3)

Embed from Getty Images

11. NHL:  For me, faceoff percentage is the most useless stat the NHL tracks unless they post the faceoff percentage in each zone.  All faceoff wins aren’t equal and some are definitely more important than others in spite of what the analytics say.  A neutral zone faceoff loss isn’t as critical as a d-zone loss and especially when a team is on the PK.  It seems to me like the Jets lose a high percentage of faceoffs while on the PK and are under pressure right from the get-go.             

12. NHL:  Key dates. 

  • Feb. 1 – Teams may start requesting players waive their NMC for the expansion draft
  • Feb. 11 – Deadline to sign Group II RFAs (usually December 1)
  • Mar. 12 – Players on one-year deals can sign extensions (usually Jan. 1)
  • Apr. 12 – Trade Deadline
  • May 8 – End of the regular season
  • May 11 – 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:  Adam Lowry is off to his best start offensively in a Jets uniform with 4 goals and 5 assists in 11 games and looks bigger, faster and stronger.  The Jets are going to have a few tough decisions when figuring out the protection list for the Seattle expansion draft.       

14. NHL:  The Tkachuk family tag line.

“Pissing off opponents since 1991.”

15. Jets:  Schedule

16. Jets:  I actually liked the Winnipeg Jets reverse retro jerseys.  I’m not sure I want to see them every night but 3-4 times a season is fine by me.  I like them wayyyy better than their Aviator jerseys.    

17. 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.

  • PP: 15th at 20.00% up from 19.40% last week.
  • PK: 12th at 81.30 up from 72.70% last week. 
  • FO: 18th at 49 .70 up from 49.70% last week. 

18. Jets:  I wonder where Sami Niku is now on the Jets defensive depth chart?  I like Niku but I think he is hooped now and especially with Tucker Poolman ready to return soon from his bout with Covid-19.    

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  5-2-1 … 2.48 GAA … .913 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  2-1-0 … 2.98 GAA … .918 SV%

20. Jets:  Tomorrow night we are going to see something we haven’t seen in Winnipeg since the arrival of Jets 2.0.  The Jets are going to roll out four strong lines like we’ve never seen before.  It may take a few games for them to gel but it sure looks good on paper.  Here is a look at the projected forward lines for Tuesday’s game in Calgary.





I would flip Trevor Lewis and Mason Appleton but it looks like Paul Maurice doesn’t want to split up the Lowry/Appleton tandem.           


In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch


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