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ANALYSIS: Jets better than expected at season’s quarter-mark but need improvements – Winnipeg

ANALYSIS: Jets better than expected at season’s quarter-mark but need improvements - Winnipeg
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The first quarter is now complete for the Winnipeg Jets following Sunday night’s 3-2 loss in Nashville.

And while the returns have mostly been in the black for a team that has gone 12-6-2, there are a few underperforming stocks and bonds that need to be addressed.

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The Jets’ assets are pretty easy to identify: a strong team game, five-on-five in particular, where Winnipeg is among the NHL’s best.

Depth. Especially when the impending return of Gabriel Vilardi has sparked healthy debate on which forward unit should not be broken up to facilitate his addition to the lineup.

A sound strategy implemented by the coaching staff. The ability to play nice, or nasty, if the situation calls for it.

And the goaltending of Connor Hellebuyck, whose stock is definitely on the rise after going 9-2-1 with a 2.23 goals against average and .923 save percentage over his last dozen starts.

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But as the old saying goes, diversification is the key to a strong portfolio. And if the Jets are going to continue the growth created from the success of their first 20 games, penalty killing must improve.

Winnipeg is currently ranked 28th playing a man short.

The power play is no great shakes either at 20th overall, but after enduring an early season 0/20 slump, the Jets have been producing at a 30 per cent clip over the last 10-plus games so perhaps patience would be a wise strategy on that front.

Which brings us to the play of Laurent Brossoit.

His addition via free agency last summer was seen to be a significant upgrade to the backup netminding position, one that would allow for a 10 to 15 per cent reduction of Hellebuyck’s workload over the past four or five seasons.

Let’s just say Brossoit would inspire investor confidence with the elimination of the goals in the “he’d want back” category. Like the one at the start of the second period last night in Nashville.

But overall, the Jets have come through the first quarter in pretty good shape. One might even say they’ve delivered beyond what was expected.


Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: November 22'


John Shannon on the Jets: November 22


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