Winnipeg Jets First Quarter of the Season Report and Analysis

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Winnipeg Jets First Quarter of the Season Report and Analysis
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The first quarter of the NHL season for the Winnipeg Jets is in the books.

In this report, I’m going to break down and analyze everything that happened in the first quarter of the season. I’ll start by analyzing all aspects of the team and then break down some of the players. I’ll touch on some other subjects as well.

But first, I’ll start with some team analysis.

 

Team Analysis

It’s been an interesting quarter for sure. Going into the season, there weren’t many expectations for the team. And so far, the Jets aren’t looking like a team that will be exceeding any type of low-ball prediction.

The Jets hold a record of 5–6–1 and sit at third place in the Southeast division. They are exactly what their record indicates—a bubble .500 team.

The Jets are an inconsistent bunch. Not only in-game, but also game-by-game. They’ll win one, give the fans some hope, but lose their next game only to disappoint again. It’s a cycle that seemed to continue, except only the losses came in bunches.

The Jets looked like an improved team through the first five games. They started off with a nice 3–1–1 record and looked like they would be one of the surprise teams of the season. They’ve even had some impressive wins over teams like Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, it started to go downhill after that.

They started losing more games than they won. I mentioned that they’re also inconsistent in-game. That’s because they are.

The Jets as a whole usually fail to play an entire 60 minutes. One game they’ll show up for the first 40 minutes and disappear for the final 20, and then another they won’t show up until the final 20. The team is finding it hard to put together a complete effort on a nightly basis.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the game plan. The Jets will look like a dump and chase team with failed cycles and offensive zone turnovers. The offensive zone turnovers have been noticeable and just kill possessions.

Team defense is an issue. The Jets are usually on the end of failed clearances or turnovers in the defensive zone which lead to goals or grade A opportunities. Once an opponent is established in the Jets zone, it’s not difficult to move the puck and set up for golden chances.

Sustaining leads is a major issue. On many of their losses, the Jets had third period leads which they were unable to hold. The games against Toronto, Montreal and Florida are at least three of the games where this issue was present.

The reason for this is because the Jets do not play to win the game when they take a lead. Instead, they play to not lose the game. Meaning, they sit on the puck instead of bringing pressure and padding their lead. No lead is ever safe in the NHL and the Jets have learned that the hard way.

When the Jets are on, they’re tough to beat. But that isn’t usually the case and it might be because of the many problems this team has.

They’re a young team, so some of the problems, such as the inconsistencies, are expected. They’ll have to grow up soon if they want to make something out of this season. Any hope of making the playoffs could start to go downhill soon.

 

Special Teams

The special teams have been just plain awful. The Jets are currently ranked dead last in penalty kill percentage. Being dead last probably doesn’t justify just how bad that bunch has been. I can think of at least three games that were lost due to the poor penalty kill.

As of late, the penalty kill has been a little bit better, but a lot has to do with the Jets not taking so many penalties.

The penalties were a major problem that went on for a good handful of games. Dumb, untimely, and unnecessary just about sums up the types of penalties the Jets took. A lot of the penalties resulted in goals against and a lot of those goals resulted in losses. The Jets dug themselves in holes a few too many times.

The Jets' power play is surprisingly ranked 12th in the league. Maybe this is the year of bad power plays because being 12th doesn’t seem so bad on paper. The Jets' power play in a nutshell: unable to generate chances, unable to gain the line, unable to set up. It’s been bad.

 

Goals For and Goals Against

Marianne Helm/Getty Images

The Jets are ranked 18th in the league with 32 goals on the season. They’re 25th in the league with 39 goals against. Obviously your record is usually indicative of your goals for vs. goals against. The Jets give up more than they score.

The Jets' weakest period has been the first where they’ve only scored seven total goals. They’ve scored 12 times in the second period and 11 times in the third. They also have two overtime winners.

To no surprise, the Jets' goals for and goals against ratio is much better on home ice.

A lot of goals the Jets give up are on the penalty kill. They’ve given up a total of 13 goals on the penalty kill. Special teams aside, let’s look at 5-on-5 play.

When it comes to even-strength hockey, the Jets have scored 19 times, but have allowed 24 goals. They’ve been better 5-on-5, but inconsistent in this aspect just like they are many others.

 

Trends

Oddly enough, when the Jets score first in games, they have a losing record. When they trail first, they have a .500 record.

The Jets are undefeated when leading after either the first or second period. They’re a losing team when trailing after the first or second period.

 

Forwards

The forwards have played well, but not well enough at times. Goal scoring has been inconsistent from this group— and nonexistent at times.

Andrew Ladd leads the team in goals with six. Blake Wheeler is second with four and Evander Kane is third with three. Go figure, the three most relied upon forwards to score goals and set them up are all in the top three. That’s a good sign, but they have to have more goals to this point.

Secondary scoring has been a huge issue.

Alex Burmistrov and Nik Antropov both only have one goal in 12 games. Kyle Wellwood has yet to score a single goal through 10 games. This is a problem. Some of the secondary players have to step up and start contributing to the offense on the score sheet.

The forwards are usually solid on the forecheck as well as the backcheck. These two aspects have rarely been an issue.

 

Defensemen

You always know what you’re going to get out of guys like Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien. Enstrom is up there with the league leaders in points, and Byfuglien is scoring goals and providing offense from the point. Both have been Grade A outstanding offensively — and defensively to boot.

Another standout has been Zach Redmond. Redmond made his debut when Byfuglien went down with an injury. He has played sound, outstanding defense for a rookie. He also contributes offensively with a nice shot and good instincts.

Two defensemen that have to play better are Ron Hainsey and Mark Stuart. Both of them have a knack of getting lost in their own end. Of the two, I’m more surprised that Stuart hasn’t been the same old Stuart who brings the pain.

Paul Postma and Grant Clitsome have been good “fill-ins” when needed. Both have had ups and downs. The defense as a whole block a ton of shots, which make up for the lack of defense at times.

Once injured defenseman Zach Bogosian returns to the lineup, it will fill a huge need at the defensive position for Winnipeg.

 

Goaltending

Marianne Helm/Getty Images

In the early going, goaltending has been a concern.

Ondrej Pavelec hasn’t been the Ondrej Pavelec from last season. He isn’t close to the same form from last season where he was dominant almost every game.

Al Montoya had a couple of good games—one being an outstanding shutout against the Senators. He’s been a solid backup thus far.

Overall, it’s not always the goalie's fault. In a lot of cases, the defense could be blamed for not doing its job or leaving guys wide open. But so far, neither Pavelec nor Montoya have been able to make that huge stop.

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