A look at records to distract from the Winnipeg Jets injury woes

Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images) /

Mark Scheifele scored his 7th hat-trick as a Winnipeg Jet against the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-2 win on Thursday. The game itself was unremarkable, as watching two AHL teams duke it out is compelling, but only to a certain degree. Thank you injury luck.

Waiting for injured players to return to the lineup is an arduous and painful process, so I wanted to create a diversion. Scheifele’s goal-scoring prowess got me thinking……does he lead all Jets 2.0 players in hat-tricks? The answer is no. Patrik Laine had 8 (hence the nickname). For context, Dale Hawerchuk leads all Jets with 15 (no respecting Jets fan counts Arizona in any statistical category).

While we wait with bated breath on Josh Morrissey and other injury news, I wanted to highlight some “fun” NHL stats and records held by Winnipeg Jets 1.0 and 2.0 to help Jets fans cope:

1.       Blake Wheeler currently sits 4th all-time in empty net points with 67. Why is this significant? He is keeping good company with Wayne Gretzky (1st), Sidney Cosby (2nd), and Alex Ovechkin (3rd). His 28 empty net goals represent 9.2% of his career goal-scoring production. To put that into context, the leaders in this category, Wayne Gretzky (56) and Alex Ovechkin (54), have percentages of 6.2 and 6.7 respectively. Anecdotally, Jets fans have quipped for years that nothing motivates Wheeler more than an empty net. At the end of the day, however, production is production, and the Jets’ former captain is a savant when the goalie is pulled.

2.       Fighting in hockey is down. In 2009-2010, the percentage of games with a fight crested above 40%. It has since plummeted to around 17%. Ring the bell, the fight is over. This is upsetting to many fans, but for the Winnipeg Jets, it protects a record that will never be broken. Tie Domi leads the NHL with 333 career fights, more than anyone else who has played the game. Although many of these fights were in a Maple Leafs’ jersey, Winnipeg Jets’ fans still wax nostalgic for the Tugger. Smaller in stature, his fights resembled “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” – but he was a ferocious competitor.

What records do the Winnipeg Jets hold?

3.       The NHL record books are littered with the Edmonton Oilers from the ’80s. Individual and team records were shattered in this era, as the Oilers pancaked the league. The Winnipeg Jets did manage however to carve out their own little place in history during this span. The 1984-85 Jets are tied (Buffalo and Islanders) with the most 30 goal scorers in a season. Dale Hawerchuk (53), Paul MacLean (41), Laurie Boschman (32), Brian Mullen (32), Doug Smail (31), and Thomas Steen (30) led the way. No team has had more than four 30-goal scorers since 1993-94, so it is safe to say that this record is safe as well.

4.       From fertility to futility, the Jets also hold one of the league’s most uninspired records. The 1980–81 Winnipeg Jets own the longest winless streak in NHL history at 30 games. Winnipeg’s streak included 23 losses and seven ties. The freefall wasn’t all bad, however, as their record allowed them to select Dale Hawerchuk first overall in the 1981 NHL Draft. It’s relevant because watching Connor Bedard dominate the World Juniors should give teams like the Chicago Blackhawks hope for next year.

5.       Sticking with this theme, the Jets hold another esoteric record. In the 1985 – 1986 playoffs, the Calgary Flames beat up the Winnipeg Jets, forcing them to trot out four different goalies in only three games. This set the record for most goalies used in a playoff series. Brian Hayward, Daniel Berthiaume, Dan Bouchard, and Marc Behrend combined for a stellar .854 save %, and a healthy 4.79 goals against. The Jets have come a long way in terms of goaltending.

6.       Let’s end with Ducky. The Calder award winner holds the record for most assists in a single period. I assumed that Gretzky had all the assist awards sewn up, but Hawerchuk registered 5 assists in the 2nd period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings in ’84. Gretzky registered 4 assists in a period on 12 separate occasions but was never able to register 5 in a game. Any time you can take down the Great One, it is noteworthy.

Fingers crossed the Jets can get healthy, so the focus can turn back to their playoff push. Hopefully, though, this trip down memory lane helped distract from the fact that the Jets are currently rostering a MASH unit. We need the Jets breaking records, not bones.