The Winnipeg Jets have won six of seven and three in a row, the last two against the final two teams they saw in the playoffs last year. But that doesn’t mean they should be complacent.
The Winnipeg Jets have looked good this past week or so. They’ve been struck with bouts of inconsistency this season, but they’re gaining traction and playing better all-around hockey.
That being said, this team is not flawless. It’s brilliant special teams play is the reason for most of their success this season, where last season, they were more of a 5-on-5 force.
With the trade deadline just a little over a month away, the Jets should make certain they field the lineup they think can win the Stanely Cup by then. Could it be done as currently constructed?
Sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. The point of making a playoff run is to mask any potential weakness you have — sometimes by beefing up that issue or by making another aspect of your team as strong as possible to cover for it.
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The top line is near-perfect, no matter who plays LW. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are both dominant forces and make up one of the best lines in the NHL. The powerplay the Jets have shouldn’t need much improvement, either.
Their powerplay percentage of 27.1% is good for third in the league, and their PK of 81.7% is good for 11th, which is more than adequate for a team that’s had issues on the blueline and in the net.
But despite improved play on the back end, plus the impending return of Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets should not be complacent. Despite being sixth in the league in goals scored, the Jets should not be complacent.
Just like I no longer wish to see Bryan Little’s uninspiring 49.6% Corsi on the second line, diminishing the value of Laine, who at this stage really needs to be fed the puck to be as useful as possible.
There are trades to be made. We’ve already beat the drum for Matt Duchene, Michael Del Zotto, Kevin Hayes and anyone else I can think of that might be on the block. Alex Edler? Mats Zuccarello? Who knows.
What I do know is that in order for me to feel genuinely confident in the Winnipeg Jets’ chances at winning the Cup this year (and they’re already high enough to warrant some faith), they need to improve at the deadline.
Paul Maurice hasn’t given the kids a shot enough to seize those roles, for better or for worse. You won’t have time to decide whether or not Sami Niku could be that guy this year, ditto Jack Roslovic.
It’s too late to find out, so they’ll have to go outside the organization. Yes, trading future assets will hurt this team in the long run, but as they say, flags fly forever. Go do the thing, Chevy.