Can Winnipeg Jets be the surprise package this season?
The Winnipeg Jets have missed the playoffs in the past two seasons and the last time they made the playoffs was in 2014-2015 where the Jets were swept by the Anaheim Ducks. For the past couple of seasons, the Jets weren't well structured.
However, they are more disciplined so far in the 2017-2018 season. Paul Maurice is the coach of the Jets and he has been coaching them since 2014. He has made them into a very physical team. They are big up the middle and on defense. The Jets also love to use their speed to their advantage whenever they have the opportunity to do so.
Winnipeg currently sit in second place in the Central Division. Their record is 7-3-2, with 16 points. The Jets have scored 38 goals and given up 34 goals so far this season. They play in a tough division with teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars all in the ranks.
Mark Scheifele has scored seven goals and recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 8. Blake Wheeler has scored four goals and 11 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 6. Nikolaj Ehlers has scored seven goals and recorded three assists so far this season.
Patrik Laine has scored five goals and recorded two assists for the Jets so far this season. Dustin Byfuglien has recorded seven assists. Jacob Trouba has recorded seven assists.
Connor Hellebuyck has been sensational in net for Winnipeg. His record is 7-0-1 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.92 GAA. Steve Mason hasn't been special when he goes between the pipes. His record is 0-3-1 with a .872 save percentage and a 4.84 GAA.
If Hellebuyck goes down with an injury, it could prove trouble big time for this Jets team. He has been more steady between the pipes this season. Hellebuyck struggled in the 2015-2016.
It is very possible Eric Comrie would be the first goalie up if either Hellebuyck or Steve Mason get injured. Comrie's stats in the minor leagues so far this season is 3-3-1 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.59 GAA.
It's early in the season but the Jets are trying to prove they are no joke. The western conference isn't as strong as it has been in years past. They could win a playoff round or two if they continue to play at a high level.