The Winnipeg Jets lose two key players at a crucial time due to COVID. Kyle Connor has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss a minimum of three games. In addition, Nate Schmidt also entered the NHL’s COVID protocol. The Jets currently sit in sixth place in the Central Division.
Kyle Connor and Nate Schmidt entered NHL COVID-19 protocol Wednesday and will miss the next three games for the Jets.
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— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) March 30, 2022
Multiple Winnipeg Jets Players Out Due to COVID
Losing Connor is one of the worst-case scenarios for the Jets. He leads the team in goals by a whopping 15, is second on the team in assists, and leads the team in points by 20. He’s played 67 games on the year, contributing 82 points to the team, evenly split with 41 goals and 41 assists. He also racks up big minutes for the team, playing nearly 22 minutes a game on average, more than any other forward. Not surprisingly, his advanced numbers are all very positive.
Having Schmidt out isn’t as disastrous, but losing a top-six forward is never ideal. In his 66 games with Winnipeg, he’s put up 31 points, split between 27 assists and four goals. A top 10 point-getter, having Schmidt out for multiple games will significantly hurt the Jets’ offence. He also plays big minutes for the team, racking up over 20 minutes of ice time per game.
How The Jets Adjust
Losing two top-six forwards to COVID for the Winnipeg Jets stings. They currently only sit three points back of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Their next three opponents are the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los Angeles Kings. All three of those games are entirely losable without two key offensive pieces. The rest of the Jets’ offence will have to carry a bigger load in order to win those games.
Zooming out, COVID could start to become an issue if the Jets are not the only team with positive tests. As the playoffs approach, teams might consider kicking up their restrictions to avoid this issue. However, this may cause some backlash within the team. This could be something to keep an eye on as May approaches.