The Winnipeg Jets have been among the most mediocre teams in the NHL for the past 5-6 years. Last season we saw many analysts pick the Jets to come out as the top Canadian team in the league. The fact is they were one of the worst. After the departure of Paul Maurice, they could never get on their feet under Dave Lowry.
With that in the past, it’s now up to former Stars coach Rick Bowness to maximize the potential of this not-so-deep roster. A central concern is the bottom six forward group in Winnipeg. They’ll be without Paul Stastny who was the anchor to one of the Jets’ most dominant lines due to his defensive ability. System and combo changes will need to be made if Bowness and co. want to extract the maximum potential from this Winnipeg Jets roster.
Current Winnipeg Jets Roster System Can Change Under New Coach
Big Year For the Future
The Winnipeg Jets have never been a strong team regarding depth down the lineup. That hasn’t changed this year. With three of the undoubtedly worst defensive forwards in the NHL on their top line, Connor Hellebuyck better stands on his head when those three are on the ice. The top six and bottom six are complete opposites. The top six is all offence, no defence, whereas the bottom six is all defence, no offence. So it’s easy to see how this causes inefficiencies in their game. Luckily for the Jets, Rick Bowness is a coach who preaches defence so this is where we may see improvement in the Jet’s game. It’s too early to tell.
Winnipeg’s coaching staff would be smart to push that third line centred by Adam Lowry to create a net-front presence in the offensive zone due to their size. Even putting their top offensive defence pairing on with that line would generate some much-needed offence. Being one of the most interesting teams this year, this Winnipeg Jets roster can have success if key factors such as bottom six offence and top six defence are implemented into their game.
No. 21: Winnipeg Jets
People understandably focus on their flawed top of the lineup, but these boys are mediocre all the way through.
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— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) September 24, 2022
The Jets actually have a decent defensive core if talking about offence. Their ability to play defensive hockey on the other hand is something that’s missing. In the 2021-22 season, they let an embarrassing amount of action go in front of the net resulting in their primary area of weakness in the defensive zone. A smart move for Jets management would be to break up the paring of Brendan Dillon and Neal Pionk. Their results on offence do not make up for the chances they allow on defence. The main area we see the use of these offensive defensive play style combos succeed is with Josh Morrissey and Dylan Demelo. In over 700 minutes together the duo controlled 57% of expected goals which is among the league’s best. This Winnipeg Jets roster requires a defensive-minded d core due to the lack of defensive ability amongst the top six forwards.
Not too long ago the Jet’s top goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was a consistent Vezina contender and eventual winner. They have no issues regarding the starter position besides consistency. The loss of Eric Comrie may affect them as he was analytically one of the best backup goalies in the NHL. So, in comes David Rittich. For only 900k you can say he’s a good option but the Czechian has been on the downtrend for a while. In his past season with Nashville, he allowed -7 goals saved above expected. Under Paul Maurice, the Jets didn’t need a dominant backup goalie. They grinded Hellebuyck til the end playing 66 games. With a small workload of 36 games in the past three seasons, it’ll be interesting to see how Rittich fairs. Many are hesitant about Rittich to succeed in Winnipeg due to their defensive inefficiencies. Rick Bowness may make changes so only time can tell.