While Jet fans are loathe to acknowledge the truth, this edition of the Winnipeg Jets is not up to playoff mode. After losing five in a row and sputtering through two home wins, the Jets illustrated how far they are behind in the NHL. A 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers showcases how far away the Jets are. I’ll say it again: far.
(And I hear the boos from Jets fans)
Quite simply, the results are in the pudding. The Jets were out skated, out hustled, and out played by the Oilers, a team that is similar to the Jets in many degrees but whom also out-shined them on ice. Surely years of number one picks does not hurt Edmonton’s prospects, but in the end, all that matters is if you win. Edmonton won handily.
With games in hand, Winnipeg is solidly in last place in the Central division. The only team behind them is Colorado, who is five points behind but has four games in hand. As I said last week, it is likely that by mid-December that the Jets own the bottom level of the Central Division. What is possible is that they may own the bottom of the NHL. Check the standings. I don’t make this stuff up.
I know. The Jets will be great. They have Laine. Scheifele. And those other guys.
But they don’t win very often.
The Winnipeg Jets are not very good. And I am one of those that thinks this team will be extraordinary good in time. But that does not mean you stand pat and do not do things to make you better now. Hellebuyck is struggling. He fills the goal with his size and makes decent saves, but he is often out of place and lets in soft stuff.Both of those things happened tonight causing goals. The backup goaltender, Hutchinson, is barely AHL compliant. Not many Jets fans think Ondrej Pavelec is very good, but he is the best goaltender in the organization. The arrogance of Chevaldeyoff to not elevate Pav is unconscionable. Chevy needs to go. After six years, his time is winding down. You do not keep good talent in the shed.
On the positive side, it is good to see Bryan Little back. He reminds me of Dougie Smail to a degree. Hard worker. Unreal in the faceoff circle. Little will get better and help the Jets. Patrik Laine has a shot that is, well, unreal. Wow. Just really something to see. And he is 18. that makes it more inspiring.
But that ends the positive side tonight. Mark Scheifele, one of the nicest guys on the team and maybe in the NHL, suddenly seems invisible. Way below par. Captain Wheeler is also far below par. And Nikolaj Ehlers is also way below par. Here is the deal: skating fast isn’t good enough. You have to get pucks to the right places. Ehlers is faster than almost any other player in the NHL. Lightning. But he doesn’t get the puck where it needs to be, ending in turnover after turnover and a defense on its heals. Watch the video. Time after time. If Ehlers doesn’t get the coaching to improve they will need to move him to the Moose, to a lower line, or to another team. I could see the Jets making him part of a larger trade because he isn’t happening. And to conclude, Number 33 continues to prove that he is overpaid and underachieved. Winnipeggers love the guy. He is, without doubt, the best 265-pound skater in the world. Best on skates. Best moves. Best hockey sense. But he isn’t a very good defenseman. Period. He is a -3 plus/minus right now and dropping. His $7.5 million contract was ill-conceived and Chevy is on the hook for that, to0.
There are a lot of bright spots on this Winnipeg team, but not enough to move them up in their division and the league. This is YEAR SIX for Jets 2.0. And they aren’t playing very well. For those who scream, “Give them a break. I love them. They are great:” They aren’t. They aren’t very good at all. If you think they are, find another chat room to support your illness. Complain how I am completely out of touch.
Then look at the standings.
This Jet team can be good. But the coaching isn’t getting them there right now. The GM isn’t getting them there at all. Understand that Laine was a lottery gain by Winnipeg. They moved from 6 to 2 by the roll of the dice, almost literally.
So. Go troll. Then look at this team and their competition and tell me what you see. Only then will I have a better insight into your illness.