In the inaugural season of the Winnipeg Jets 2.0, one of the players that stood out in a good way was Zach Bogosian. The fourth overall selection in the 2010 entry draft was excellent in the franchise’s first season in the Manitoba capital, with many seeing him being the anchor of the Jets blue line.
His combination of speed, size and physicality had Jets fans and management swooning with delight.
Then he needed surgery.
Following the 2011-12 season, Bogosian had surgery on his wrist that was bothering him throughout the season. The Massena, New York native was suffering from a chronic ligament tear in his right wrist that was further aggravated during offseason workouts. Bogosian missed six months of ice time following the surgery but thanks to the lockout, Bogosian only missed 15 out of the 48 games played in the 2012-13 season.
Management were undeterred by the injury, thinking that the worst was behind Bogosian. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made a long-term commitment to Bogosian by signing him to an eight-year extension worth $5.1 million per season. Even the US Olympic team took notice as they invited Bogosian to their orientation camp in the summer of 2013.
However, the 2013-14 season was a disappointing one for Bogosian. He missed 15 games due to a groin injury suffered on November 15. At the end of the season, the Jets shut down the defenceman due to back spasms that were plaguing him for the second half of the year.
Back spasms were the issue that shut down Zach Bogosian late in the season
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) April 13, 2014
In between those injuries, Bogosian’s game ranged from inconsistent at best, to downright dispiriting at worse. Far too often Bogosian was careless with the puck resulting in turnovers in the defensive zone. He wasn’t confident rushing the puck up ice like he was prior to last season.
The numbers show that. Bogosian went from 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in 2011-12, to 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 2013-14. Even the analytics bear this out. Bogosian’s fenwick fell from a 51.3% in 2011-12 to 49.6% in 2013-14. If the wrist is still bothering Bogosian, then the damage could be permanent and it may shorten his career.
Loss Of Confidence?
The question needs to be asked. Did Zach Bogosian lose his confidence because of the injuries, or were the injuries too much to overcome? For what it’s worth, Bogosian has said he “feels good” despite the hard training camp head coach Paul Maurice is running.
“I’ve had some nagging injuries over the years, I’ve tried to address them in the offseason. Whether it be upper body or lower body, you get banged up throughout they year.” Bogosian told the Winnipeg media after practice. “So trying to rehab those things trying to make them strong and staying in every game is one of my goals this year.”
It sounds like the numerous injuries were the contributing factor to Bogosian’s decline last season. Which is plausible. But so far in the preseason, Bogosian has looked lost. Whether it is rust from being the preseason or nerves because of the fear of getting hurt again, Bogosian’s form in the preseason has been mediocre.
That won’t cut it in the regular season. Bogosian needs to step up his game this season. The Jets don’t have a plethora of defencemen that will scare the opposition. There is no Drew Doughty or Shea Weber here to eat up valuable minutes. Jacob Trouba isn’t ready for that responsibility as of yet.
Bogosian will be asked to carry the load along with his partner Toby Enstrom. It is time for Bogosian to regain his form that made the US Olympic team take notice. The excuses won’t matter to Jets fans if Bogosian doesn’t raise his level of play. If Bogosian can’t regain his form he showed back in 2011-12, it will have negative repercussions for the present and the future of the Winnipeg Jets.