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Winnipeg Jets Collapse is Coming at the Worst Possible Time

Just like last season, the Winnipeg Jets have collapsed and are once again falling apart at the most inopportune time of the regular season. The 2022-23 version of the Winnipeg Jets was solid but unspectacular at creating and preventing scoring chances. The 2023-24 version is slightly better than the previous season but still unspectacular. This slight improvement combined with Connor Hellebuyck being arguably the best goaltender in the NHL (instead of only the fourth-best last season) are the primary reasons the Jets are a shoo-in to finish third in the division. The 2023-24 Winnipeg Jets collapse still has a valid cause for concern.

Same Problems Appearing in Current Winnipeg Jets Collapse

The Depth and Pionk Problem

While the positives throughout the past two seasons are similar, the negatives also continue to be consistent. For starters, while the Jets have a ton of depth at the forward position, the team lacks the star power to pack a punch when it is most needed. The Neal Pionk issue comes down more to how much the coaching staff actually preaches “accountability”. This lack of accountability has been a key reason for the current Winnipeg Jets collapse as Pionk has routinely been a net negative.

Other players who play unpredictably routinely get a shorter leash and get benched for a simple turnover. Pionk is predictable in the sense that he consistently loses his minutes (all statistics found in this article were found at In the playoffs, the refs put the whistles away unless the infraction to very noticeable. Pionk knows how to walk this fine line and hack, slash, trip, and crosscheck the opposition without getting penalized. The proof of this lies in the seemingly forever-ago series against the Edmonton Oilers. Pionk turning the clock back would be instrumental in turning around the Winnipeg Jets most recent collapse.

Against the Oilers Pionk routinely played against the best player in the world. In those four games, Pionk played 109 minutes (roughly 5.5 games worth of ice time) and only took a singular penalty. Furthermore, he flat-out won his matchup in games three and four. Even though he handily lost his matchup in games one and two, breaking even against Connor McDavid is a huge win in itself. However, Pionk got outclassed by the Vegas Golden Knights last playoffs, losing his matchup and getting outscored 9-1 at even strength.

The Connor Problem

Kyle Connor is the perfect complementary scoring piece on a contending hockey team. He shoots the puck and finishes at an exceptional rate. However, when he is not shooting the puck in at an unsustainable pace, he is rather mediocre. If he is your main offensive driver your team is not going to go far in the playoffs. Instead, he will score a lot of goals but give up even more defensively. A legit championship contender’s best player does not lose minutes or even break even. The Jets could do the logical thing and split up Connor and Mark Scheifele all together. As both players are better without the other and abysmal with each other. Connor has been a key reason for the Winnipeg Jets collapse this season.

Winnipeg Jets Collapse is Showing a Negative Theme

The Winnipeg Jets are built on winning low-event and low-scoring games. However, playing Connor and Pionk as much as they do is severely hampering the Jets’ ability to keep games low-scoring. For this reason, it is confusing as to why Head Coach Rick Bowness has refused to alter his line combinations. Refusing to do has been a key contributor in the Winnipeg Jets collapse and could be one of the reasons the Jets exit the playoffs early again.

Main photo: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports


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