Look, the Winnipeg Jets are good. It’s no surprise. They’re not a sexy or trendy pick (look at TSN’s IG comments), but they’re good.
The Winnipeg Jets had the second-most goals and points last season. Their core is also extremely young, and they rushed past the team that beat them in the standings.
Nobody would blame you for picking the Winnipeg Jets to win the Stanley Cup. They are a very good team. It’s not a dark horse pick. It’s one of the best teams in the NHL.
That being said, I wouldn’t expect them to be the “expert’s pick” or to sit atop anyone’s power rankings. They’re not obviously the best team in the league, and major networks don’t care about them.
It’s a shame, really, but I don’t care. I doubt the team does either. But that being said, let’s take a look at what some of these “experts” have done. And then I can appropriately berate their decisions.
Seven of 18 panelist’s from NHL.com picked the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup, which genuinely shocked me. Blatant bandwagoning for clicks, I’d say. Three of them picked Erik Karlsson to win the Conn Smythe, so there’s that. They really think highly of that.
Suffice it to say I think it’s stupid. It’s the same as the Toronto / John Tavares bit but more aggressive. Injuries and chemistry issues aside, the San Jose pick is the sexy one.
The Jets? They got two votes, as did Nashville. Penguins got one. Tampa got six.
So I went to ESPN’s power rankings next. ESPN should not even cover NHL hockey. They never show any games, Sportcenter ignores them and their top analyst, Barry Melrose, lasted 57 games in his last two coaching stints.
Including a killer 16 game run with Tampa in 2008. It was the 2008-2009 season, but he didn’t even make it to 2009. No offense to Melrose, but…well, that’s offensive to Melrose.
So of course, I open their power rankings, and who sits atop the list? The Winnipeg Jets. I’m not saying this exonerates ESPN, I was just confused. I’m kinda okay with it, too, since it’s not the sexy pick but it’s not a bad one.
The Lightning are second, so you haven’t lost me yet. Then the Leafs and Preds, and finally at five, the defending champions, the Washington Capitals. San Jose comes in at sixth. Would it be my list?
No. I’d have Tampa, Winnipeg, Nashville, Washington as my top four. Haven’t thought it through much more than that. Maybe one day I will. Today is not that day. Either way, the Winnipeg Jets are getting some love.
It would be an egregious error if they didn’t get any. Nobody would do that. But hey, it was nice to see them at #1, even from ESPN. They’re good, but their NHL coverage is…lacking.