Winnipeg Jets Be Buffing On Up!

Winnipeg Jets Report Card: Surprises and Non-Surprises –

Thanks to boss Mitch, I’m reminded another quarter of the NHL season has expired.

These are my Winnipeg Jets grades for the second quarter of the season for the forwards, defencemen, goaltenders, power play and penalty killing.

To be fair, if you didn’t see my first quarter one, go here ☛ ☛ Scott’s 1st Quarter Report Card 

I’ll start with my surprises.

Surprises: The #1 Goalie belongs to Michael Hutchinson.  I predicted after Jets 5-1 win over Chicago that coach Paul Maurice would start running out Hutch like he would normally play a #1 (this is unannounced) and see how it worked.  So far, there’s much to like about this situation and Maurice’s handling of it.

Not So Surprising: Backup Goalie Ondrej Pavelec was where Hutch was after first quarter but he is clearly the backup net-minder.  No more should fans expect #1 goaltending from him but what is needed is solid back-up goaltending.  If he can give the Jets a chance consistently, he’ll be considered a good back-up.  Let’s worry about his contract in the summer.

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The good news is the Winnipeg Jets have a pipeline of top prospects at the goalie position.  If not Hutch, then one of them will hopefully lead us to the “Promised Land” until then Pavelec is okay as a backup.

Surprises: Defence – Of course, the rocking and rolling Big Bad Buff  finally got his chance on defence after “12” injured defencemen forced the coach into playing him there.  There were many of us, fans and bloggers alike, who were pushing for this so lots of Jets fans have had “I told you so” moments.  🙂

In reply to a question from twitter as to the reasons why I like Buff as a D,  I’ll give one answer of many.  I’ve never seen a defenceman trap pucks in the offensive zone as well as he does and upgrades that when pinching as one of the best at creating chances on the oppositions net.  ALL THIS TIME is not spent in the defensive zone.  The best defence ever.

Benny Chiarot deserves a big fist-bump here too, even though my suspicion is Buff carried him a bit.

Not So Surprising: Zach Bogosian is on the injured list so much that we don’t have a grade.

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Surprises:  Forwards – I’m not surprised Matt Perreault is good but it’s about HOW good he is.  Right now he’s in the running for team MVP if he continues to have such positive effects on the PP and 5 on 5 play.  Give him a new position and he embraces it and does it right.

Not So Surprising: The 4th line stinks.  I’d keep Peluso at a cheap price and disengage us from Slater and Thorburn (both “good guys”).

Power Play: It is getting better as Perreault settles in.  He’s the key right now.

Penalty Killing: They’ve lost some of the magic but the PK has had a lot of injuries.  Is it possible Mark Stuart and Evander Kane’s absence meant something?  Still, there’s a good group here to get back to the high level of play they’ve shown earlier.  Pressure is good.

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