8 Jets Who Set New Career Highs in 2022-23

The Winnipeg Jets had an exceedingly up-and-down 2022-23 season. They had a strong first half, suffered a prolonged slide in the second half, recovered from it just in time to squeak into the playoffs, then were quickly dispatched in the first round by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Related: Jets Should Not Be Satisfied With Season; Big Changes Required

At many different points along the winding regular-season road, eight different Jets set career-highs, with some edging out old personal bests and others obliterating them.

Adam Lowry Celebrates Winnipeg Jets Bench
Adam Lowry was one of eight Jets to set one or more new career highs this season. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

Four forwards and four defensemen combined to set 16 career highs. Here, we’ll take a brief look at each.

*Note: This article doesn’t include career highs for players who had not played a full season in the NHL prior to this one.

Kyle Connor — Assists (49)

Kyle Connor did not come anywhere close to matching or breaking the 47-goal mark he set in his outstanding and historic 2021-22, but did establish a new career-marker for assists with 49.

While mostly talked about as a sniper, Connor has excellent passing abilities too, evidenced by the fact he has more assists (215) than goals (209) over his seven-season career.

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This season, Connor posted 49 assists, three better than his previous career-high set last season. His chemistry with 42-goal scorer Mark Scheifele was a major reason for the new high, as he had an assist on 18 of Scheifele’s tallies.

Pierre-Luc Dubois — Assists (36,) Points (63)

Pierre-Luc Dubois’ third season with the Jets may well be his last, but if it was, it was his best.

The power forward was never afraid to head right into the thick of the action and it served him well once again. He recorded career-highs in assists with 36 — two more than his sophomore 2018-19 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets — and points with 63 (once again, two more than his 2018-19 point total.)

Pierre-Luc Dubois Winnipeg Jets
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dubois, originally acquired in the January 2021 blockbuster that sent Patrik Laine to the Blue Jackets, is the type of high-effort player the Jets would love to have in the fold for a long time. Unfortunately for them, he made it clear with comments last offseason he wants to play for the Montreal Canadiens and refused to sign a long-term extension in Winnipeg.

Related: 6 Jets Who Could Be Traded This Offseason

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Dubois, who played this season on a one-year deal, is a pending unrestricted free agent after next season and his exit-interview comments indicate he’s still lukewarm on Winnipeg as a long-term place to play. It’s entirely probable the Jets will trade him this summer to avoid losing him for nothing if talks of a lengthy extension go nowhere again.

Adam Lowry — Assists (23,) Points (36)

The Jets were at their best this season when Adam Lowry was producing.

The physical, shutdown centre had never reached the 30-point plateau in the first eight seasons of his career, with his best offensive campaign coming in a 29-point 2016-17. Lowry scored 15 goals back then, and while he only scored 12 this season, his career-high 23 assists pushed him well above that 30-point mark.

Lowry, after recording just 21 points last season and admittedly struggling under his father Dave Lowry as interim head coach, was given a big vote of confidence from new head coach Rick Bowness before this season began. Long considered a leader in the room, Bowness made it official by naming the 30-year-old the team’s third alternate captain after stripping Blake Wheeler of the captaincy.

Related: Jets Make Right Call Naming Lowry an Alternate Captain

Lowry got off to a decent offensive start as the Jets played above expectations through the first three months of the season, matching his entire 2021-22 season output by the end of December.

However, as the Jets fell into their prolonged slide, he went silent along with the rest of the Jets secondary scorers. He’d scored seven goals by Dec. 12, but then suffered through a 35-game goal drought that spanned nearly three months and didn’t end until March 4.

Lowry picked it up again after getting the monkey off his back, recording seven points in March and three in April.

Mark Scheifele — Goals (42,) Shooting Percentage (20.4%)

Mark Scheifele has been a reliable scorer throughout his career, with five 29-plus goal seasons under his belt prior to this season.

For the first time in his career, the Jets’ first-ever draft pick surpassed the 40-goal plateau, firing home 42 and breaking his previous career high of 38, set in 2018-19. The number didn’t come without ups-and-downs, though.

Scheifele was re-energized and refocused during the first half under Bowness, and reaped the rewards of his renewed commitment. By the All-Star Break, he had 31 goals and 50 seemed within reach.

As the Jets struggled in the second half, however, Scheifele reverted to the problematic and lackadaisical 2021-22 version of himself. He went through a terrible slump in March, not scoring in nine straight, and looked just about done with playing for the Jets.

Related: Jets’ Scheifele Has Quietly Quit on His Team; Trade Request Coming?

After Bowness moved Scheifele to right wing for the first time in his 12-year career, Scheifele picked it up again. He scored four goals in his final seven games and helped the Jets reach the playoffs.

Scheifele scored one goal in the series against the Golden Knights before being knocked out in the first few minutes of Game 4 with an upper-body injury. He did not return for Game 5, making it the third-straight playoffs he’s been knocked out of by either injury of suspension.

Like Dubois, Scheifele is a UFA after next season who in his exit interview said it was too early to talk about a long-term extension. A change of scenery could be best for everyone involved.

Dylan DeMelo — Goals (6,) Assists (21,) Points (27)

Dylan DeMelo’s value to the Jets and the other teams he’s played for is his ability to shut down the opponents’ best and move the puck out of the defensive zone effectively.

As such, teams understood creating offence wasn’t his first (or second, or perhaps even third) priority and that he isn’t a guy who will post eye-popping numbers. While the 29-year-old’s numbers still weren’t “eye-popping” this season, he showed a more offensive flair than he ever has in his eight-year career.

Dylan DeMelo Winnipeg Jets
Dylan DeMelo, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

DeMelo once went 132 games without a goal (between March 21, 2019 and Nov. 13, 2021) and has had three different seasons where he didn’t even light the lamp once. This season, though, he scored six times, breaking his previous career high of four, set with the Ottawa Senators in 2018-19.

He also set a career high in assists with 21, surpassing his previous best by one, which he set as a member of the San Jose Sharks in 2017-18.

All told, his 27 points was third-best among Jets d-men behind Josh Morrissey (76) and Neal Pionk (33.) That number is a nice cherry on top of the stability he provides on the back end.

Josh Morrissey — Goals (16,) Assists (60,) Points (76,) Average Time on Ice (24:14)

Josh Morrissey put up some decent offensive numbers in past seasons, but he absolutely mowed down all his previous high-water marks in a remarkable, All-Star campaign.

Empowered and trusted by Bowness to jump up in the play, the 28-year-old recorded 76 points, more than doubling his previous career-high of 37 points in 79 games, set last season. He did so with absurd ease and for the final four months of the regular season, was simply building on a record — his 38th point of the season came on Dec. 20, in just his 32nd game.

On Feb. 20, by scoring a goal against the New York Rangers to register his 57th point, he set a new record for most points in a season by a defenseman in Jets 2.0 history, surpassing Dustin Byfuglien.

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Morrissey finished tied with the Vancouver Canucks’ Quinn Hughes for second among all NHL defensemen in points and his 16 goals surpassed his previous record of 12, set last season. His 60 assists more than doubled his previous high of 26, set in 2019-20.

Lastly, he set a new career-high in time on ice, skating an average of 24:14. His previous career-high was 23:40, set last season.

Unfortunately, all that was not enough to get him a Norris Trophy nomination as Adam Fox, Erik Karlsson, and Cale Makar were named the finalists instead.

Brenden Dillon — Points (23)

Brenden Dillon is another Jets defenseman for whom producing offence is not a primary concern. Nonetheless, he set a career-high in points by one by recording an assist in the final game of the season, a meaningless matchup against the Colorado Avalanche two days after the Jets clinched a playoff spot against the Minnesota Wild.

The rugged blueliner — dealer of many hard hits over his 12-year NHL career — dealt out 21 assists this season, tying the career-high he set in 2018-19 with the San Jose Sharks. That season, he had 22 points, as he did in 2017-18.

Count those records edged out as he had two goals to go along with his 21 apples in this, his second season with the Jets, making the total 23.

Neal Pionk — Blocked Shots (129)

Neal Pionk’s play was polarizing this season, with the blueliner becoming a lightning rod for criticism due to some of his decisions on defence and with the puck. The 27-year old, however, could not be accused of being a softie or unwilling to take some pain for the good of the team.

Neal Pionk Winnipeg Jets
Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Thanks to a combination of logging nearly 22 minutes per game and being a part of a much-improved Jets penalty kill that stepped in front of a ton of rubber all season, he blocked 129 shots, surpassing his previous career high of 98 with the Rangers in 2018-19. This did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“He battles hard. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s always up there near the team lead in hits and blocked shots,” shutdown centre and fellow penalty killer Adam Lowry said in April. “He’ll put his body on the line for us and he battles at both ends of the rink. You couldn’t ask for much more from a guy on your team.” (From ‘Pionk aiming to up his game,’ Winnipeg Free Press, April 10, 2023.)