Winnipeg Jets: Best Bet Now Would Be to Focus on Potential Lottery Draft Pick

Anthony CapocciContributor IMarch 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Tim Stapleton #14 of the Winnipeg Jets is congratulated by teammate Blake Wheeler #26 after scoring the game winning goal in overtime to defeat the Washington Capitals 4-3 at Verizon Center on March 23, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets have been pushing for the playoffs all season long—a push that will ultimately fall just short of its goal.

Remarkably enough, however, they’ve stood in the race up until about a week ago.

At one point not too long ago, they lead the Southeast Division. Since then, they have constantly battled in-and-out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The tides have turned and teams that were originally trailing the Jets now lead them. Playoffs in 2011-12 are a thing of the past for the Winnipeg Jets.

It’s time the team focuses on something beneficial—something that will make them even better in the long run.

Stunningly, for a team that’s been in playoff contention for so long, the Jets are only six points better than the Eastern Conference’s worst team, the Montreal Canadiens.

The 10th-placed Jets could easily fall within the bottom of the conference if things don’t go well in the remaining six games of the season, especially when four of those games are on the road.

The fact of the matter is, the Jets can become a lottery team.

Usually when teams are in the lottery, they’ve had an utterly disgusting season.

Take the Columbus Blue Jackets, for example. I don’t think anyone is proud of that organization after the season they've had.

However, for the Jets, this season is different. I don’t feel disappointed. I feel like the organization has shown so much. I feel like the team has progressed so much.

I feel all that and the Jets could very well be a lottery team. And if they do become a lottery team, everyone in the organization needs to keep their heads held high.

What separates the Jets from being a playoff team is their abysmal road record. But at home, the Jets showed how good they are. And if they could have made that transition this season, I wouldn’t even be discussing the lottery.

Being a lottery team shouldn’t make anyone feel disgusted. Not this season. Not after our team displayed pure competitiveness all season long.

Not after the run they had with such little expectation behind it.

The Jets are too good to be a lottery team, but the standings don’t lie. It’s a possibility that could become true.

Understandably, no one wants to lose, no matter the scenario.

But I don’t think my loud cheering is enough to decide whether or not the Jets win or lose their final games.

It’s late in the season, playoffs are out of the realm of possibility, and there isn’t much gas left in the tank.

It’s time to embrace adding another stout prospect to this organization—one that could change the shape of this franchise for years to come.