Welcome to Jets Weekly, where you can catch up on the past week of Winnipeg Jets hockey. From hot topics to news and notes, this is where you can find all things Jets related throughout the 2019-20 season.
The regular season is in full swing and the Jets have had their fair share of ups and downs already. If one thing is for certain, this team will keep us all well entertained throughout the winter months – prepare for a rollercoaster of emotions. This team seems to already have a trend going of playoff contender one game to the bottom of the barrel the next – let’s hope they can work on some consistency.
The Jets are currently sitting with a 4-3 record – good for second place in the Central Division. However, they have the most games played out of the entire NHL with seven thus far.
Here are some hot topics of the past week as we take a dive into the first edition of Jets Weekly.
Can Laine Stay Hot?
Patrik Laine has started the 2019-20 season on fire – registering 11 points through the first seven games. The most surprising thing about that is he has eight assists to just three goals – something people are not used to seeing from the Finnish sniper.
Laine has cooled off a bit the past two games. Although unconfirmed, he may have been benched near the end of the second period after Adam Lowry came out for a shift with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. Laine did not put forth the best effort while on the ice for Dominik Simon’s goal just moments earlier. Let’s hope both Laine and the Jets can rebound after an all-around terrible outing versus the Penguins.
Should the Jets Keep Heinola Around?
A hot topic over the past week has been whether or not the Jets should keep Ville Heinola around for the entire season. He has been a healthy scratch for the Jets’ last two games after having his first rough outing of the season versus the Minnesota Wild.
Heinola can either be sent down to the Manitoba Moose or back to Lukko of the Finnish Elite League. He has played five NHL games so far and will need to play at least five more for his entry-level contract (ELC) to no longer slide another year. If he gets sent down to the Moose or back to Finland with nine or fewer games played in the NHL, he will still have all three years remaining on his ELC – something that may be intriguing to Kevin Cheveldayoff.
It is no secret that albeit the one game versus the Wild, Heinola has arguably been the Jets’ best defender through the first week and a half of the regular season. But with the team looking to get Sami Niku and Nathan Beaulieu back in the fold sometime in the near future, things do not look so bright for Heinola to stick around.
It will be entirely up to whether Cheveldayoff wants to suit up the best six defensemen they have or save a year on the young defenseman’s ELC. With the Jets playing right near the cap ceiling and having salary cap issues already, maybe having Heinola’s contract slide another season is not such a bad thing. After all – if he is as good as he has looked so far – this kid is going to be getting paid at the end of his ELC, there is no doubt about that.
Wheeler Reaches Another Milestone
On Thursday, Oct. 10, Blake Wheeler reached another major milestone in his career. He hit 700 career points after scoring the team’s first goal against the Wild and is now the third player from the 2004 NHL Entry Draft to do so (Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin being the other two).
Of Wheeler’s 700 points, 436 have come since Paul Maurice has taken over as head coach. He has 136 goals, 300 assists, in 446 games under Maurice – good for .98 points-per-game (PPG) average. He is also just one of 14 players in the NHL to record 700-plus points since the start of the 2008-09 season.
With the way the Jets’ captain has been playing these last few seasons, there is no doubt he will be hitting some more major milestones in the future as well.
Jekyll and Hyde
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Jets have looked like a legit threat one game and a complete mess the next. If they did not pull off two comeback victories so far – one of which being a miracle in New Jersey against the Devils – they could easily be sitting with a 2-5 record instead.
I think it is safe to say this may be the reality of the Jets’ season. With the team still being very young – especially on the back end – and somewhat inexperienced, these ups and downs could very well become normal around here.
Although not always for the right reasons, this team is certainly going to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
A Look at the Week Ahead
The Jets have three games on tap for the week ahead. They face-off against the Arizona Coyotes starting Tuesday, Oct. 15 and finish the week against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, Oct. 20.
The Jets’ next five games are at Bell MTS Place – a place where they went 25-12-4 last season, good for the fifth-best home record in the NHL. There will also be some interesting decisions that lie ahead for Maurice and Cheveldayoff.
I think we will see Heinola get his nine games in at some point over the next few weeks and it will be interesting to see what the Jets do when Bryan Little returns from injury – he is apparently close to a return.
Related: Jets’ 3 Stars of the Week: Oct. 2-9
Thank you for reading this week’s edition of “Jets Weekly.” Stayed tuned for next week’s edition and as always, feel free to leave any feedback or questions you may have in the comment section below, or follow me on Twitter @Goet91.
Ryan is very passionate about the game of hockey and loves being at the rink. He is a current regional scout in his home province of Manitoba and a graduate of SMWW. He has played the game since the age of five at many different levels and is always looking to find new ways to stay involved. In his free time when he isn’t busy at the rinks or writing articles/reports, Ryan enjoys spending quality time with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter @Goet91.