Winnipeg Jets are bottom third in almost every important category
The Jets have been anything but boring to watch this season. The team has played one of the craziest offensive games in the past two decades (in Philadelphia), blown leads, made third period comebacks and taken games to overtime and the shootout. As far as roller coaster rides go, the Jets are like Canada’s Wonderland—a ride at almost every turn. But beneath that, how have the Jets fared so far this season.
While it is clearly early in the season, the Jets have played only 15 games, are there any really encouraging team signs for Jets fans to cling to?
Let’s look at how the Jets fare in some important categories:
|Power Play Efficiency||20th|
|Penalty Killing Efficiency||22nd|
|Shots on Goal Per Game||22nd|
|Shots Against Per Game||20th|
|Goals For Per Game||19th|
|Goals Against Per Game||27th|
|Total Minor Penalties||29th|
How do you put a positive spin on the above figures? It is definitely not an easy task. However, context is necessary. How did the Thrashers fare in the above categories a season ago? That should provide us with a better idea of where the Jets stand thus far—albeit early in the season.
|Power Play Efficiency||12th|
|Penalty Killing Efficiency||27th|
|Shots on Goal Per Game||11th|
|Shots Against Per Game||26th|
|Goals For Per Game||20th|
|Goals Against Per Game||29th|
|Total Minor Penalties||9th|
The Jets are significantly worse in power play efficiency, shots on goal per game and total minor penalties taken. Conversely, the team is about the same in goals against per game, is exactly the same in the face-off circle. The Jets have so far been slightly better on the penalty kill but worse when it comes to shots per game.
All in all, this team has a ton of work to do. In fact, as the first chart indicates, the Jets are in the bottom third of the NHL in many important categories aside from goals per game—where they find themselves at the bottom of the second tier.
That is not to say that some progress is not being made. Clearly players like Evander Kane and Alexander Burmistrov have flashed promise. Other players have impressed like Jim Slater and the team’s “top” line demonstrated signs of a collective breakout in Buffalo.
On the back-end, there are strengths—skating, puck skills, but also drawbacks like horrible turnovers and poor defensive zone awareness.
The goaltending has been erratic with some strong spurts from Pavelec and some off-games.
If you followed the Thrashers closely last season much of the above will not come as much of a surprise. This is no expansion team; we have the team’s past performance, which we can utilize to track progress. So far, much of the team’s progress has been matched by its backwards steps. Not without exception mind you, but most would agree much work is needed before this team talks about realistically contending for a playoff spot.