Winnipeg Jets’ First Line Is Flying

It has been an entertaining and certainly productive start to the season for the Winnipeg Jets’ first line of Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. At the time this article was written, the trio found themselves in 11th, 15th and 20th in the points race across the entire NHL, proving to be an effective combo for coach Paul Maurice and the young Jets team. This article will take a closer look at each player and the elements that have lead to their successes so far this season.

Patrik Laine

Let’s start with the kid. The sensational rookie with composed swagger at just 18-years old. The Finnish sniper has been lighting the lamp every chance he’s been given. Laine has made a name for himself in the league early on and he’s barely scratched the surface.

Teams are taking notice of his shooting abilities and trying to contain the skilled teen, but he’s finding ways to create his chances with very little NHL experience. It’s going to be quite spectacular to see what talent he showcases for us once he is able to fully adjust to the league and the pressures that come with it. The kid’s going to be simply exceptional, if he isn’t considered to be in your books already.

After scoring again in Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, Laine has 19 goals (good for second in the NHL at the time this article was written), 11 assists and a total of 30 points, which leads all NHL rookies. He also owns a plus-minus rating of plus-six, showing that he’s slowly becoming more reliable in terms of his defensive play. The kid is a natural goal scorer, and even

The kid is a natural goal scorer, and even Alex Ovechkin, one of the league’s best goal scorers over the last decade, has admitted that Laine has the potential to score 50 or 60 goals with the skill he possesses. We’re not even halfway through the season but the Finnish phenom has certainly made his mark in the league already.

Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheifele is quickly becoming one of the top centers in today’s NHL. After years of wondering when he would come close to reaching his full potential, the Jets have to be happy with the product that he’s worked out to be. The 23-year-old Kitchener native has worked his way up the lineup and currently finds himself centering the top line for the Jets, receiving top minutes on the powerplay where he’s produced five powerplay points so far.

At the time this article was written, Scheifele sits tied for 11th in NHL scoring with 31 points, collecting 14 goals and 17 assists in 33 games to go along with a plus-six rating. Scheifele has been centering the top line with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers on his wings, a dominant line that has done the majority of scoring for a struggling Jets team.

With secondary scoring being an issue in Winnipeg, Scheifele has stepped up to the plate and has done everything he can to keep the scoring afloat. He’s on pace for the best season of his career and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of him slowing down. His speed, hockey I.Q. and shooting abilities make him a crucial player to the Jets’ success and he’ll need to remain consistent with his play if the Jets have any hopes of making it into the playoffs.

Nikolaj Ehlers

In what may be the Jets’ biggest surprise this season is the exceptional play of winger Nikolaj Ehlers. Ehlers ranks 20th in points across the NHL and he’s been showcasing his extraordinary playmaking abilities while climbing the ranks, collecting 20 assists to go along with nine goals for 29 points. Just watch the patience and playmaking skills below:

Everyone knew Ehlers had the potential to be something special after his spectacular junior career, but the Jets have to be happy with what they’ve gotten from Ehlers after being with the team for just over 100 games to start his NHL journey. The shifty playmaking native of Denmark has the speed and vision to make plays happen, and boy has he ever shown up to prove just that.

After being criticized by the media and fellow teammates for his lack of goal-scoring, Ehlers has responded with five goals in the month of December, and four goals in his last three contests. Many feel this year is Ehlers’ coming out party, and that his future in Winnipeg is only filled with promise.

The trio of Scheifele, Laine and Ehlers has been simply remarkable to watch and it makes you wonder just how good this line can be moving forward with each player gaining more and more NHL experience. They are only going to grow stronger, smarter, and undeniably better together with time, forcing teams to recognize the threat that exists in Winnipeg and the potential that has yet to be fully tapped. It will interesting to see how the three finish up the last half of the season, but if it was anything like the first half, this will be a season to remember for all three players. Let’s see how high they fly moving forward.