The Winnipeg Jets are off to an inconsistent start this season, currently holding a losing record of 3-4. A lot of it has to do with the players being unable to find a groove on a game-by-game basis.
Some players are off to hot starts while others are off to slow ones. Who keeps it going and who turns it around?
Let’s see who I’m buying and selling after seven games of the 2013-14 season.
Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien
Why not evaluate both at once? They’re both on the same pairing—a pairing that has been together for about three years. They both lead the Jets in points with six (with all six of those points being assists), and they’re both a plus-one.
Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien are off to the hottest starts of any player on the Jets roster right now. And to no surprise, I’m buying that both keep it up.
This is nothing new. We’ve seen these two perform well over and over again. We’ve also seem them perform well out of the gate.
Enstrom and Byfuglien are elite offensive defensemen. They’ve been heavy point producers in the NHL for their entire careers. They both get top-pairing minutes, and both of them are on the Jets’ top power-play unit.
There’s no reason to believe that both of these defensemen will fail to reach 50 points again this season.
The only change going forward will be Byfuglien scoring goals. Enstrom will score a few, but he’ll finish the season with the higher amount of assists. Barring any type of injury, this hot start will continue rolling.
The Jets' most explosive forward is off to a hot start this season.
Evander Kane has three goals and two assists through the first seven games. He’s tied for the goals and points lead among forwards, but he leads the Jets with 30 hits and 34 shots on goal. When he isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, he’s contributing in other ways.
Kane’s start is something to buy...maybe even buy high. I’m buying it, but I’m also buying that he’ll pick it up even more as the season rolls along.
It looks like Kane is coming close to breaking out on a torrid pace. Obviously, five points in seven games is less than a point per game. However, if Kane keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll get very close to the point-per-game barrier.
One of the most intriguing Jets forwards is off to a very slow start in 2013-14. Is this something new for Blake Wheeler?
No, it isn’t.
Wheeler has a habit of getting off to slow starts. In the 2011-12 season, Wheeler posted a measly seven points in the first 18 games. The slow start didn’t diminish his season. Wheeler went on to lead the Jets in points that year with 64. Talk about picking up the pace.
So far this season, Wheeler only has three points. He’s also coming off a huge contract extension that makes him one of the highest-paid players on the roster. To say he has to pick up the pace this time would be an understatement. The Jets are relying on Wheeler to be a primary scorer. And so far, he isn’t coming through.
There’s nothing to be worried about. I’m completely selling Wheeler’s slow start to the season. I’m selling it not only because of his history of slow starts but for the fact that Wheeler is an extremely talented player.
Give Wheeler a few more games. Once he gets going, the Jets will as well.