The Winnipeg Jets finished 2016/17 with 40 wins and 87 points, although it wasn’t enough to clinch a playoff berth. With emerging stars up front (Laine, Scheifele, Ehlers), defense and goaltending likely hold the key to a post-season appearance in 2017/18.
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+ The Jets have a solid, young crop of puck movers. Trouba (23 years old, PMF +0.28), Morrissey (22 years old, PMF +1.81) and Myers (27 years old, PMF +1.23) are all relatively young and have shown strong ability to move the puck and elevate the play of their teammates despite facing solid QoC and playing top 4 minutes. None of the 3 appear to be sheltered either, starting roughly the same % of shifts in the offensive zone as the defensive one.
+ Durability will be key heading into 2017/18. Only Byfuglien and Morrissey played 80+ games. Trouba (60 – although 15 from his hold-out), Enstrom (60), and Myers (11) all missed considerable time with injury.
+ Byfuglien (PMF +1.39) was his usual strong self as a puck mover in 2016/17.
+ While Enstrom struggled to drive possession (PMF -1.04), his defensive ability metric (DAM +1.31) was best on the team at minimizing scoring chances and keeping high danger shots to a minimum.
+ Postma was solid both as a puck mover (PMF +0.38) and defensively (DAM +1.02), but did so against very weak competition.
Byfuglien and Trouba lead the way on the power play. As a QB, Byfuglien was the best for Winnipeg. His PPQB of +1.50 is well above league average, highlighting his ability to maintain possession, generate good scoring chances, and create offense with the man advantage. Byfuglien led the way with 2.17 primary assists per 60 minutes of PP time – tops on the team and among the best in the league.
As a shooter, Trouba was tops. His PPGS of +1.35 of goals per 60 on the PP of 1.22 are both in the upper quartile of the league.
The Winnipeg Jets are an interesting team to watch heading into 2017/18. They’re loaded offensively (Laine, Scheifele, Ehlers, and Wheeler all put up 60+ points) and appear to be very solid on defense, so what is holding them back?
Their biggest issue might be goaltending. Winnipeg ranked 27th out of 30 teams in terms of 5v5 save percentage. That is not strong. Unless they see improvement from that position, it might be tough for the Jets to be more than a bubble playoff team in 2017/18.
That said, if goaltending does improve, and their blue line proves more durable in 2017/18, this could be a dangerous, young team ready to make their mark in the post-season.