The Jets left Winnipeg today to start a three game road trip having played their tenth game of the 2016-17 season last night at the MTS Centre. It hasn’t been a great start to the season with the team going 4-6-0 which has them 11th overall in the Western Conference. Their record both at home (3-4-0) and away (1-2-0) is under .500 and they are looking for some consistency from a young lineup. The loss of Bryan Little in the 1st period of the first game of the season has had a huge impact on a young roster that couldn’t afford to lose his veteran presence.
By way of comparison last season after the first 10 games the Jets were 6-3-1, which was followed by a disastrous/crippling November. It was an unbalanced November in 2015-16 with the Jets spending the majority of their time outside Friendly Manitoba and in 2016-17 they will face a similar schedule as they have six at home and ten on the road.
Where has the goal scoring gone?
The Jets added dynamic rookies Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor to an already youngish roster. Laine has added six goals while Connor popped his first NHL goal on the 27th against Dallas.
But when you compare the first 10 games of this season against last year the Jets have eight less goals for this season. Looking at the top six guys in terms of goal production this season and last in the first 10 games:
2015-16: Wheeler (5), Stafford (5), Ehlers (4), Little (4), Scheifele (4), Ladd (3).
2016-17: Laine (6), Scheifele (5), Wheeler (3), Ehlers (2), Matthias (2), Myers (2).
Laine has replaced Stafford in terms of production and Scheifele is ahead of his pace from last season but for the most part we see that some of the goal scoring has been reduced as these new look Jets get used to their linemates.
What has happened with the goaltending?
The Jets made the decision to part ways with long time goalie Ondrej Pavelec when they sent him to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Instead they chose to go with the youthful tandem of Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck.
Last season the duo of Pavelec/Hutchinson in the first ten games put up these numbers:
2 wins, 4 losses, .918 save %, 1.75 GAA
4 wins, 0 losses, .949 save %, 2.68 GAA
In the first ten games of this season Hutchinson/Hellebuyck have put up these numbers:
2 wins, 3 losses, .906 save %, 3.09 GAA, -0.88 GSAA
2 wins, 3 losses, .914 save %, 2.63 GAA, 0.26 GSAA
(GSAA as well as other goalie metrics discussed here).
Coach Maurice seems committed to continuing the rotation especially when factoring in the Jets upcoming schedule.
Have the special teams gotten more or less special?
The difference on the penalty kill between last season in the first 10 games and this year is exactly one goal in the same number of power play opportunities for the Jets opposition. In 2015-16 they allowed six goals on 36 opportunities for an 83.34% PK rate whereas in 2016-17 it is seven goals on 36 chances for an 80.56% (currently 20th in NHL).
Switching to the power play the Jets have been able to draw significantly more penalties this season but have not been able to convert these into goals. In 2015-16 the Jets had seven power play goals for in 29 chances (24.13%) in the first 10 games whereas in 2016-17 the team has been given 44 opportunities to score with the extra man but have only scored five times (11.35%) (currently 25th in the league).
While they haven’t been able to light the lamp with the extra attacker you get the impression that the team is happy with the looks they are getting while on the PP. In fact, captain Blake Wheeler spoke about that following last night’s game “I think we are first in the NHL in shots on our power play. That’s a good place to start. You can stat check me on that but I think we are right up there. We are creating momentum for our team. It’s kind of a replication of the rest of our game, we’re close but no cigar, just gotta stay with it and one day we will catch fire.
Plenty of Jets have been banged up in first 10 games:
The Jets lost Brian Little (lower-body) in the home/season opener against Carolina in the 1st period. Since that critical injury the team has lost Drew Stafford (upper-body) October 25th, Tyler Myers (lower-body) on October 28th, Mark Stuart (lower-body) on October 30th and now Shawn Matthias (lower-body) on November 1st.