Over/Under on Winnipeg Jets’ Player Point Projections by ESPN

The 2023-24 season is right around the corner and fans of the Winnipeg Jets are eager to see how their favourite players and team will perform. Projections are always a topic of debate and pure speculation with some believing players will exceed expectations while others fall short. In this over/under article, I’ll take a closer look at the 2023-24 point projections from ESPN for 10 Jets and evaluate whether I think their numbers are likely to go over, under, or be even with their projections. (To make it simpler I’m going make my over/under prediction for the number of games ESPN is predicting the player to play, rather than on the player playing 82 games.)

Josh Morrissey

2023-24 Projections: 72 points (15 goals, 57 assists) in 79 games

2022-23 Statistics: 76 points (16 goals, 60 assists) in 78 games

Josh Morrissey Winnipeg Jets
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Josh Morrissey finally broke out last season in a major way. As a result, his projections for the 2023-24 season indicate a slight decrease in his point production compared to the previous season. He had a spectacular 2022-23 and scoring somewhere around 60 points this season would go a long way in establishing himself as a consistent number one defenceman. I’m taking the under on this one, but he’ll still have a very dominant season.

Kyle Connor

2023-24 Projections: 85 points (38 goals, 47 assists) in 80 games

2022-23 Statistics: 80 points (31 goals, 49 assists) in 82 games

Kyle Connor is one of the Jets’ offensive leaders and his 2023-24 projections suggest another strong showing from the American goal scorer. The over/under on him is very subjective as if the Jets truly are going to ice skaters based on performance like they say they are, he could see a dip in production due to his defensive deficiencies. However, I do not see that happening as I think the Jets are all talk and no action. I’m taking the over on this one with Connor scoring 46 goals and 40 assists, while also being a complete liability on defence.

Mark Scheifele

2023-24 Projections: 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) in 71 games

2022-23 Statistics: 68 points (42 goals, 26 assists) in 81 games

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Mark Scheifele is known for his scoring but the projections for 2023-24 predict a decrease in his point production. While it’s possible that he may face similar challenges as Connor due to his complete lack of a two-way game, his talent should allow him to outperform these projections. With no Pierre-Luc Dubois this season, Scheifele will be the main man on offence and on the power play. Coming off a 42-goal season and in a contract year? Slam the over!

Neal Pionk

2023-24 Projections: 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 80 games

2022-23 Statistics: 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 82 games

Neal Pionk’s projections for the 2023-24 season are right in line with his 2022-23 performance. While I am not a believer in him myself, the Jets seemed determined to make him a thing or die trying. Given this and how Winnipeg uses him with Morrissey when they are trailing, I have to think he performs right in line with these projections. Based on his projected usage this season, I have to take the even and predict Pionk will score 33 points.

Gabriel Vilardi

2023-24 Projections: 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) in 65 games

2022-23 Statistics: 41 points (23 goals, 18 assists) in 63 games

Gabriel Vilardi has all the talent in the world to repeat his success from last season. On paper, his size and finishing ability make him a perfect fit for many of the Jets’ skilled forwards. Based on all the optimism around his arrival, I think he has a solid season. I’m taking the even because Vilardi scoring at a 57-point pace per an 82-game season would be an exceptional season for the young forward.

Nikolaj Ehlers

2023-24 Projections: 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 60 games

2022-23 Statistics: 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 45 games

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but Nikolaj Ehlers has all the talent to score 40 goals and 90 points in an 82-game season. However, the Jets seem to like continuously shooting themselves in the foot. He played primarily third-line minutes last season and scored at a near 70-point pace. Imagine if he played on a forward-thinking team that played him 20 minutes a night like he deserves. He’d easily be flirting with scoring 100 points. I’m taking the under as does anyone really think the Jets are going to give Ehlers the ice time he deserves? Of course, they are not going to.

Cole Perfetti

2023-24 Projections: 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 72 games

2022-23 Statistics: 30 points (8 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games

Cole Perfetti is in an eerily similar situation as Ehlers. He plays around 15 minutes a night maximum, unless the Jets are down one goal. If they are up a goal, he’s stapled to the bench. Staying healthy is a big part of his career trajectory but you always bet on skill and youth. Perfetti has a ton of potential and it’s a shame he won’t be given the best opportunity to unleash it. I’m taking the even here, but if he played 18 minutes a night, he could easily score 60 points in 72 games.

Dylan DeMelo

2023-24 Projections: 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in 75 games

2022-23 Statistics: 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists) in 75 games

Dylan Demelo is an extremely underrated player who is the perfect partner for Morrissey. ESPN obviously sees his style of play and makes his point projection conservative. While I think there’s a reasonable chance he scores less than 27 points this season, it won’t be 13. Take the over and hope the Jets extend him to a new contract after this season to be a mainstay next to Morrissey.

Nino Niederreiter

2023-24 Projections: 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 62 games

2022-23 Statistics: 41 points (24 goals, 17 assists) in 78 games

Nino Niederreiter is a slightly polarizing player. Some people believe he’s the perfect second-line forward due to his ability to shoot, score, forecheck, and get into the slot, while others think he’s overrated due to the lack of skillful power forwards in the NHL today. I fall into the first category as whether he’s in the top-six or matching up against the opponent’s top-line in a shutdown role, take the over.

Brenden Dillon

2023-24 Projections: 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 62 games

2022-23 Statistics: 23 points (two goals, 21 assists) in 82 games

Brenden Dillon Winnipeg Jets
Brenden Dillon, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Brenden Dillon is in a very similar situation to Demelo. I don’t see his point totals decreasing this much with Winnipeg returning for the 2023-24 season with an identical defensive core. While it is easy to see it being less than 23, I think it’ll be higher than 12. Take the over on Dillon.

Projections are Fun

In conclusion, projections provide a brief glimpse into what the future could hold. However, player performance can vary due to numerous factors, including injuries, linemates, team dynamics and trades. It’s important to remember that these projections are estimates and that players can outperform or fall short of expectations in any given season. With the 2023-24 NHL season right around the corner, it is finally starting to feel like it’s hockey season. Furthermore, I hope every Jet smashes their projection!

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