Three Reasons Nikolaj Ehlers Will have a Big Year for the Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers (27). Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Winnipeg Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers (27). Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /
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Winnipeg Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers (27), (Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports) /

Playing on the First Powerplay Unit

Ehlers appears destined to work on the top powerplay unit for many of the same reasons. His offensive skill fits perfectly on a unit that sees the most ice time.

Similar to his situation on the second line, Ehlers has often been buried on the second powerplay unit. On some teams, this would be fine as it would give two legitimately dangerous groups to work with.

Unfortunately for Ehlers, the top unit rarely left the ice. Long shifts often minimized the impact of the second unit, leading to a diminished level of production. There are top and bottom units for a reason, but the discrepancy between the two impacted players like Ehlers who were unable to contribute as much.

As the tweet shows, the difference is apparent between the two (NaturalStatTrick). The Jets stacked the top unit and played them for a minute or more on average. The long shifts are notable as well, as that takes away any opportunity for the second unit to establish an attack. Powerplay or not, Rick Bowness has made it clear that long shifts aren’t acceptable, as the fatigue it causes leads to turnovers

Assuming new coach Rick Bowness continues to favor the top unit, Ehlers should see immediate results.