Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Dec. 18

Odds and Ends on the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL –

Some random facts and a few thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose, and the National Hockey League.

1.  The Winnipeg Jets went 2-2-0 in their four games last week and have an overall record of 19-10-5 for the season.   

2.  The Jets are certainly a different team without Dustin Byfuglien in their lineup.  The haters can say what they want BUT the big man is still the guy that drives the bus on this team.    

3 Would it be fair to say that Shawn Matthias’ time in Winnipeg could be ending soon?

4.  The Manitoba Moose played three road games this past week going three for three and extended their points streak to a ridiculous fourteen games.  Their overall record is now at 21-5-1-2 for the season.  They are currently FIRST overall in the AHL with a winning percentage of .776.   

5.  This might be considered a pretty bold statement BUT I think Manitoba Moose goaltender Michael Hutchinson might be the best goalie not currently playing in the NHL.  It’s no secret I like Hutch.  I have stated this many times on this page or on our WHT Podcasts.  His detractors will say he had many opportunities to grab the #1 spot and didn’t do it.  This is true but those were different times and on a different Winnipeg Jets hockey team.  There is no magic number as to what age a goaltender is ready for the NHL.  Goaltending is probably the one position that doesn’t have a shelf life or an expiry date.  If I am the Winnipeg Jets, I am in no hurry to give Hutch away.

UPDATE:     

This came out a couple hours after I posted this thought.

Manitoba Moose goaltender, Michael Hutchinson has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 17.     

6.  As good as the Winnipeg Jets powerplay has been this season, it has been brutal on the road for quite some time now.  Wouldn’t you think Paul Maurice or Jamie Kompon would try something different?  It’s strange how the same two units can be lights out at home and almost non-existent on the road.  Whoever said hockey makes sense?    

7.  I haven’t mentioned it lately so I think it’s time to remind myself how much I like Josh Morrissey.  He doesn’t seem to have any holes in his game and he is slowly getting a little more involved in the offensive side.  He isn’t even close to his peak yet.

Just for kicks, I decided to look back at my original NHL Draft prospect analysis of Josh in May 2013.  These were my thoughts before my Winnipeg Jets bias had kicked in >>>>   

8.  Pet peeve:  The camera work for the NHL’s outdoor television broadcasts.  With all the technology out there, you would think they could find some angles where you could actually see the puck!

9.  Buff watch:  The Buff watch will have to be put on hold for a few weeks until the big guy gets over his “lower body injury”.   He is currently listed as week to week. 

10.  When Jacob Trouba was holding out last year, he and his agent asked the Winnipeg Jets for a trade and cited “usage” as one of the main reasons for this request.  I for one never bought into the usage narrative.  It was a smoke screen and a bunch of horse crap as far as I’m concerned.  Right now, JT has a perfect opportunity to be “the man” with Dustin Byfuglien currently on the IR.  So far he has played pretty well in Buff’s absence but nowhere near to Big Buff’s level.  You know what they say;  heavy is the head that wears the crown.  I have to applaud his will and want to be a leader but instead of wanting to be “the man”, how about being the best Jacob Trouba he can be?  If he chooses to stay, his time will come. 

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11.  Am I the only one that gets a little nervous when Jacob Trouba handles the puck at the point on the powerplay?    

12.  In case you were wondering because teams in the AHL don’t play the same number of games, they go by winning percentage and not points.  Going into this weekends play, the Toronto Marlies held the distinction of having the best record in the AHL but the Manitoba Moose took care of that with back to back wins in Toronto and flipped the tables.  (see #4)      

13.  FYI:  The NHL’s holiday roster freeze goes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 19).  This includes trades and movement between the big clubs and their minor league affiliates.  The roster freeze is lifted on Dec. 27.  

14.  I have to admit that I have been impressed with Tucker Poolman’s offensive instincts.  He looks like a guy that could man the point on the Jets powerplay in the future.  Bad news for #8.  (see #11)      

15.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Do you ever complain to the league about the officiating or would it do more harm than good?  The officiating in the home and home versus St. Louis was awful at best. 

16.  Is it just me or has there been less belly-aching about Brandon Tanev lately?        

17.  Kyle Connor has certainly upped his physicality and his compete level this season.  It is still sporadic at times and especially on the road and he is not alone in that regard but it is night and day from last season.

18.  Do you think it is a coincidence that Connor Hellebuyck’s puck handling has improved since the arrival of Steve Mason?  Helle knew he had to work on this part of his game and having Mason around certainly doesn’t hurt.  I would consider Steve Mason as an above average puck handler and I’m sure Helle is getting help from him in that area of his game.  It shows.              

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  17-4-4 … 2.45 GAA … .920 SV%       
  • Steve Mason:  2-5-1 … 3.26 GAA … .907 SV%

20.  Special Teams:  Rule of thumb.  Have the two red numbers total at least 100% when added.  (as your minimum) 

  • PP:  3rd at 25.40% … up from 4th but down from 25.68% last week.    
  • PK:  20th at 79.83% … up from 22nd at 79.09% last week.  

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Hockey Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

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We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL and Winnipeg High School.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know.  We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch 

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