The Winnipeg Jets are rolling but the second line is a bit of an issue, especially with the current injury situation. It doesn’t have to be like this, though.
Well, Patrik Laine isn’t really known for that, either. Ehlers, however, has a 52.9 Corsi, which is third among regular forwards on the Jets.
Jack Roslovic next to Laine on that line doesn’t help anyone, as they’re in the bottom three on the team in Corsi, right there with Brendan Lemieux, who is just known for his ability to be in the way.
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But Bryan Little has negative possession numbers and just 30 points in 50 games. Laine has four points in his last 17 contests and only one goal in his last 12. Not great! Yes, he’s young, and he has plenty of time and room to improve.
Only, he needs a little help right now if they’re counting on him. And Bryan Little can’t proveide it. Roslovic, as promising as he is, isn’t cutting it either. Derick Brassard or Matt Duchene might help the situation, but until then, a quick fix would be appreciated. I would appreciate a trade, don’t get me wrong, but I doubt one is imminent.
But Paul Maurice could make a decision he’s toyed with in the past. It weakens the bottom six, yes, but the Jets need help up top. Mathieu Perreault needs more time and more responsibility.
He’s been on the second line before and thrived. He knows how to grind and how to play, and his forechecking ability would be welcome alongside Bryan Little, who should be moved down, and Patrik Laine, who excels in the offensive zone off the puck.
Perreault is averaging his lowest ice time since he’s come to Winnipeg this season, and that’s not a thing that should be happening. We could use more Perreault.
Perreault rocks a 52.2 Corsi and could easily improve his 19 points in 50 games, should the Jets give him more ice time and better linemates. Look, anyone could improve if they have Laine to pass to. Apparently, Bryan Little isn’t one of those people.
But Little doesn’t drive possession like Perreault does, and the Jets need that right now. The first line is good enough to keep the offense afloat on its own, no question.
But with the other nine forwards kicking, the team can be unstoppable. We saw what happened when Laine got hot, and it’ll happen again. Taking the pressure off of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler would be appreciated.
I’ve heard people on Twitter suggest the Jets should split Scheifele and Wheeler, and I don’t like the idea. Let’s try to improve the second line without taking away from the team’s biggest strength, first.
Yes, I do expect the Jets to make a trade. Will it be for a center they can plug in behind Scheif? Who could know. But in the meantime, Mathieu Perreault would be a better choice on the other side of Bryan Little.
I would even be okay with Little being swapped with Adam Lowry, who is having a rock solid season. But that’s a story for another time. The Jets have given no indication they want to drop Little without acquiring outside help.
But Patrik Laine needs to get going, and the Winnipeg Jets could make some changes to help him get there. It’s long overdue.