Winnipeg Jets First Half Review; Can They Finally Win a Championship?

 

The Winnipeg Jets are one of the biggest surprises so far in the 2017-2018 season. They have one of the better goal differentials in the NHL so far this season (164 goals scored and 138 goals given up). The Jets currently sit in first place in a tough Central Division in the Western Conference. Their record is 29-13-8 with 66 points so far this season. Winnipeg will be in a tight race for the rest of the season with the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and the Dallas Stars.

If the season ended right now, the Jets would face the Stars in the first round. Blake Wheeler leads the Jets in points with 54 so far this season (14 goals and 40 assists). Patrik Laine has scored 22 goals and recorded 17 assists so far this season. Mark Scheifele has scored 15 goals and recorded 23 assists so far this season. Nikolaj Ehlers has scored 19 goals and recorded 18 assists so far this season. Bryan Little has scored 10 goals and recorded 20 assists so far this season.

Kyle Connor and Mathieu Perreault each have scored 15 goals so far this season. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has had a quiet season for the Jets (two goals and 17 assists). The most important part of the Jets success so far this season has been goaltender Conor Hellebuyck. His record is 26-6-7 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA, along with four shutouts. Steve Mason is the backup and he hasn’t been sharp. His record is 3-6-1 with a .897 save percentage and a 3.52 GAA. Maybe in the second half of the season if Mason continues to struggle, maybe they’ll call up goalie Eric Comrie from the minors. However, in the one game he played in, his record was 0-1 with a .857 save percentage and a 5.08 GAA.

Winnipeg has the second best power play percentage in the NHL (24.7%). The Jets have the 12th best penalty kill percentage in the NHL (82.2%). Paul Maurice is a very good coach. He has been coaching with Winnipeg since the 2013-2014 season. Maurice led them to the postseason one other time in the 2014-2015 season as the second wild card in the Western Conference. They were swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.

This season could be totally different for the Jets. They have never won a playoff series in franchise history. Not only this is the year the Jets could win a playoff series, but they have the talent to win a Stanley Cup. Winnipeg will have to first get through a brutal Central Division possibly in the first two rounds in order to get there. They will be a fun team to watch for the rest of the season and possibly playoff time.

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