The Winnipeg Jets
The offseason in Winnipeg brought in a significant change to the Jets roster. Long-time captain Blake Wheeler accepted a free-agent deal with the New York Rangers and the team traded centre Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings.
With such notable turnover to the lineup, not much was expected from the Jets. Their ceiling would likely be a wild card playoff entry, yet, so far this season they have overachieved.
The Jets find themselves in third place in the Central Division with a .672 points percentage that ranks sixth in the NHL.
In most traditional statistics categories the Jets shine. They rank in the top ten in goals-for per game, goals-against per game, and goal differential. (All stats courtesy of nhl.com)
The Jets Corsi-For percentage and Goal-Differential at 5 vs 5 also rank in the top ten league-wide.
Veteran center Mark Scheifele has rebounded from an off-year in 2022-23 and leads the team in scoring. Defenseman Josh Morrisey has carried over his strong play from a year ago to anchor the Jets blue line.
Young players Cole Perfetti and Gabe Vilardi, part of the return from the Dubois trade, have helped the team withstand the injury to top goal scorer Kyle Connor.
The biggest strength of the Jets is goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. He is a strong candidate for the Vezina trophy, a top-five goalie who can singlehandedly carry the team to victory. He is the type of goalie that a potential first-round playoff opponent would want to avoid.
The Jets most noticeable weakness is their special teams. Both their power play and penalty-killing rank in the lower third of the league. The Jets power play ranks 21st at 18.2 percent. Their shorthanded success rate of 75.0 ranks 26th.
A less perceptible Jets weakness is their 5th-ranked shooting percentage on all shot attempts. Aside from proven sniper Connor, as a whole, many of the Jets are finding the net at above-expected numbers, which may not be sustainable.
Overall Jets Outlook Moving Forward
A team with Hellebuyck in the net can never be discounted in a playoff series, but the Jets play in the same division as heavy Cup favorites the Colorado Avalanche, and perennial darkhorse contender the Dallas Stars.
The Jets ceiling is a third-place finish in the Central and a first-round upset, should the Stars be their opponent.