Time for The Jets To Show Something
By Patrick Hoffman
The honeymoon in Winnipeg is over folks.
Their hockey team, the Winnipeg Jets, have been back home since the 2011-12 season and have one playoff series and one playoff win to show for it. If you're keeping track at home, that's simply not going to cut it anymore.
The Jets must use this season to take a big step forward to show their city and their fans that they are a hockey club to be reckoned with. It's time for the club to put their big boy pants on and start becoming a consistent playoff hockey club.
When looking at this team's roster, there is no reason why that cannot happen. For starters, the team has a solid offense that can put the puck in the net.
With guys like Patrik Laine (36 goals and 28 assists for 64 points), Mark Scheifele (32 goals and 50 assists for 82 points), Blake Wheeler (28 goals and 48 assists for 74 points), Nikolaj Ehlers (25 goals and 39 assists for 60 points), Dustin Byfuglien (13 goals and 39 assists for 52 points), and Bryan Little (21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points), offense should not be a problem for this hockey club. Last season, the team ranked 7th in the league in goals scored with 246, so that should not change much this upcoming season.
This team also has a solid backend. After Byfuglien, defensemen Jacob Trouba (8 goals and 25 assists for 33 points), Toby Enstrom (1 goal and 13 assists for 14 points), Dmitry Kulikov (2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points), and Ben Chiarot (2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points) are all more than serviceable and have all shown that can play well on both sides of the puck.
Lastly, their goaltending received an upgrade with the addition of Steve Mason. A Calder Trophy winner in 2009 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mason spent four decent years with the Philadelphia Flyers and now has a chance to shine in Winnipeg and show everyone that he can be as good as he was eight years ago when he first came into the league.
While no one is expecting the Jets to win the Cup or the Western Conference or anything like that, fans should expect this team to make the playoffs and may be win a round. They have the roster to do it and now, it's time to go out and get it done.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.