As the NHL trade deadline approaches this Wednesday, one team that likely won’t be doing much are the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets, who dropped their 3rd straight Monday to the New York Rangers, lead the Southeast division by 4 points. Despite the division lead, the Jets could use a trade or two to improve a few areas of their game. However, the youth of their team makes it difficult to make a move or even want to make one. The Jets have an average age of 27.3, which is one of the youngest in the league.
What you see is what you get.
Captain Andrew Ladd has stepped up big for his team, leading the team in points at 32. However, his offense of production along with fellow left winger Evander Kane and right winger Blake Wheeler won’t be enough if they want to make a good playoff run this year. So, what are their options?
With such a youthful team general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff, won’t want to do anything to risky to break up the potential long term success the team could have. Cheveldayoff will have to be blown away to send off anyone in the system this season.
The team as a whole is 23rd in the league for goals scored per game with 2.43. That will have to be the key potential addition during the off season for this team. As well as an improvement to the penalty kill, which is at an abysmal 79.8% this season.
If they want to be going anywhere passed the 1st round in the playoffs this year, goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, will need a big improvement from up front on the special teams.
Ondrej Pavelec is the key to their playoff success
It’s no secret that a NHL team can go only as far as their goaltender (or goaltenders in some cases) will take them. The Jets are no exception to that. Ondrej Pavelec left Mondays game in New York with a 2.80 GAA and 15 wins. Pavelec has the 2rd most minutes played and games started this season behind only Ilya Bryzgalov.
If the Jets want anything more than a first round exit come playoff time, Pavelec must be on his game. He has recently gone into a slump surrendering 3 loses in the last 5 games he has suited up for. The Czech Republic native will likely have his first taste of the playoffs this season with the team in the lead of the Southeast division.
It will be a true test for Pavelec and the rest of the Jets this post season without much room for player improvements through trades this season.
Billy Kornfeld is a senior at Penn State, obtaining a major in broadcast journalism. He is a producer at the student run radio station, ComRadio. He produced the Penn State Women’s Ice Hockey team, while also doing play-by-play and beat writing for both the men’s and women’s team. In the spring he is producing both the Men and Women’s lacrosse teams at Penn State. He is on twitter @b_kornfeld.