The Winnipeg Jets have started the season off with a solid 17-9-2 record to place them second in the Scotia North Division standings, just behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. This record is great and an improvement in some areas can do them justice, hopefully helping the team finish with the division title by the end of the season.
The Jets have had many players who have stepped up to the plate this season and many who have been mediocre and can do much more. This article takes a look at a letter grade for each player so far this season and discusses what they have done right or what they have done wrong.
Mark Scheifele has been a superstar for the Jets so far this season, putting up 37 points in 28 games. A player like him is one that you want to play for your team. He is strong on the puck, has an elite playmaking and scoring ability, and is a leader in the locker room and on the ice.
Since being drafted in 2011, he not only has proven that he can be a great player for the Jets, but has taken a bigger step that fans have not seen in previous years. He is a dangerous player every time he is on the ice, whether it be in the offensive or the neutral zone. He makes everyone on his line better and is a driver for the team. Both Paul Stastny and Pierre-Luc Dubois both put up points when they were paired on the wing with Scheifele. Overall, there are not many flaws in his game to start the season.
Connor, Ehlers, Pionk, Hellebuyck, Broissoit
The Jets would not be where they are in the standings if it wasn’t for the scoring ability that Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor have possessed this season. Both players lead the team with 14 goals and have proven they can score at an elite NHL level. Since the Patrik Laine trade, both players have stepped up and taken their game to a new high.
Neal Pionk has been a pleasant surprise in his contract year so far for the Jets this season. He has proven that he can step up offensively and has a wicked shot. He has also been physical, which we did not see last season. He makes the smart plays in the offensive and neutral zone, and has been paired with a great defensive partner in Derek Forbort. I think that that Jets fans can finally be happy with the return that they got for Jacob Trouba.
Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit have also been very good for the Jets so far this season, with both putting up great numbers. Hellebuyck with a 12-8-2 record, .910 save percentage (SV%) and 2.82 goals-against average (GAA) has proven that he can once again be in the conversation for his second consecutive Vezina Trophy. Brossoit with a 5-1 record, .921 SV%, and 2.48 GAA has been stellar in net and has given the team confidence when he is between the pipes.
Wheeler, Stastny, Appleton
Blake Wheeler, the captain of the Jets, has been playing on a line with Scheifele and has not yet disappointed. Although he had a rough stretch of a few games, he has put up 25 points in 28 games and has been great on the man advantage. He has proven that he could stay on the Jets’ top line for this season, but his age is starting to show.
Stastny has also been a pleasant surprise for the Jets after his trade from the Vegas Golden Knights, putting up 17 points in 28 games. He has shown leadership on the ice and has been very flexible in where he is put in the lineup. A strong 54.5 faceoff percentage puts him in a good position to take some important draws for the club.
Mason Appleton is having a breakout year for the club and has proven to be a capable third-line player. His 15 points already is a career high and his improved ice time is something that he has taken advantage of. He has also given the Jets’ coaching staff the ability to throw him on the ice in penalty-killing situations and when the game is close towards the end.
Copp, Forbort, Morrissey, Stanley
Andrew Copp has been a consistent player for the Jets this season, as he has shown that he can play in the top or bottom six of the lineup. His line of Appleton and Adam Lowry has been very productive so far and will look to wear down the other teams’ top-six for the rest of the season.
Forbort has also been a great player for the team so far with the shutdown role that he has been given. Playing with an offensive-minded defenseman in Pionk, he has had to adjust and play a stay-at-home type game. Having a player like him on a cheap contract was a great move by the Jets’ management in the offseason.
Josh Morrissey has had an off year for the team so far, coming into the season with high expectations. He has made some mistakes that have cost him defensively and has led to some chances for the opposing team. That being said, he is a high-caliber talent who has the ability do more and has shown that in the past few games with the team. Head coach Paul Maurice will be looking to get more out of his north of $6 million defenseman.
Logan Stanley is a big defenseman who has been solid for the squad in his rookie year. When he gets into some games he has proven that he can play at an NHL level. He uses his size to knock players off the puck, but has proven that he needs to work on his foot speed.
Dubois, Lowry, Perreault
Dubois was acquired by the Jets in the Laine swap with the Columbus Blue Jackets and since then has been a solid player for the team. He has two overtime winners and has shown that he has a very high ceiling. The two-week quarantine and injury may have slowed him down and it looks like he is still trying to catch up to the game. Overall, a great trade so far for the Jets.
Lowry has been a physical force on the ice so far this season, as he is second on the team in hits. He has not played up to his standards, but has been a great piece on that third line. He is a great faceoff guy and can play the game in important situations for the team.
Mathieu Perreault has been quite a player to watch so far this season. He is tenacious on the puck and has an eye for the net any time he is on the ice. He plays the game at a high level and has also had a scoring touch so far this season. It should be interesting to see if the Jets bring him back on a cheaper deal next season.
Lewis, Thompson, Beaulieu, DeMelo, Poolman
Overall, there is not much to say about these players. They are nose to the grindstone type guys and have an impact in the lineup when they play. They all got a C+ rating because there is not much more that is expected out of them. They have been great additions to the team but could be replaced with the snap of a finger.
Overall Look at the Jets
The Jets have had a great start to the season and will look to make a run in the playoffs. Scheifele has been the most valuable player for the team so far and Pionk has been the greatest surprise.
I am interested to see what you guys believe these players should have gotten on the rating scale. Let me know in the comments if you would change any and why.
Hello my name is Isaiah Wagner and I am from Winnipeg. I am currently a Winnipeg Jets writer for The Hockey Writers. I am very excited to share my passion about hockey and the Jets with you!