To get an inside look at the Winnipeg Jets for tonight's game, I asked Arctic Ice Hockey's TJ Maughan a couple questions about the former Thrashers (rip). I also answered a few so go check them out on their site. They're all too frozen to bite!
1. Former Bruin Blake Wheeler is your third-highest scorer, and only 2 points behind (now-injured) leader Tobias Enstrom. But he has a -8. Does Blake still go offside a lot?
Surprisingly enough, Wheeler has curbed back his offsides significantly, though is still prone to be ahead of the play every once in a while.
Wheeler has been out for plenty of goals against, but it's really hard to fault him for the entirety of his -8 rating. Firstly, his on-ice SV% is a woeful .835 (thanks Pavelec), which one can only hope is rectified by the Jets' goaltending tandem. Secondly, his PDO (shooting % + SV%) is a dreadful 926. At some point, luck should start to turn in Wheeler's favour and the shifts that have been ending with the puck in Winnipeg's net will start trending in the opposite direction.
2. Tobias Enstrom got hurt in the game against Pittsburgh. We know a lot about top scorers getting hurt against Pittsburgh. It sucks. Can the defense hold up in front of the .890 save percentage goalie monster?
2. Fun fact: Ondrej Pavelec's 5v5 SV% is among the leagues top percentile at .922. When the Jets' are down a man, that number dips exponentially to a putrid .800. What makes Pavelec such a farce on the penalty kill? Well, that's the 3.9MM question.
The defense -- for the most part -- has been average; good enough for the team to have a winning record. But goaltending has often reared it's ugly, vomit-inducing head, crippling Winnipeg's chances at victory.
3. The Jets have been...pretty bad this year. If they miss the playoffs this year again, how much longer can you guys blame it all on Atlanta not getting any snow?
At this point, Kevin Cheveldayoff has done enough to absorb some of the blame for Winnipeg's failures. He has re-signed the aforementioned Pavelec, Tobias Enstrom, Andrew Ladd and Jim Slater to long-term deals, showing that this is less of a rebuild than it is a retooling. Whether or not it's faulty logic remains to be seen. But his additions of fringe NHLers like Eric Tangradi, Anthony Peluso and James Wright doesn't do a lot to support his image as a competent GM.
We will wait and see if the NHL Trade Deadline produces the mass exodus of Ron Hainsey, Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood -- undoubtedly while looking for draft picks in return, as though the Jets could insert them into their immediate line-up. If so, then fans should really start questioning the current direction of the team.
That was all pretty informative, I thought. Thanks again to TJ for being a good sport!