What’s the ceiling for this Winnipeg Jets team?
For this year, I think they could not only make it to the playoffs, but they could do some damage once they get to the big dance.
They’re currently riding a 6-3-1 hot streak and just looking at them on paper, it’s clear this is no fluke. Their top-six is one of the most skilled in the league. We all know how good the likes of Patrick Laine and Mark Scheifele are and honestly, players like Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers don’t get enough credit. They’re both legitimate stars in this league.
On the back end, the fact that they have Tyler Myers playing on their third pairing is all you need to know about their depth. They have six strong NHL d-men who can all eat big minutes. That type of depth becomes invaluable down the stretch. One player that I love watching is Josh Morrissey, who is really coming into his own as well, he’s basically the definition of what the next wave of the modern defenseman. Quick, agile and makes a good first pass.
They’ve given up the 6th least amount of GF in the league to this point, that’s in large part thanks to a solid d-core.
Of course, goaltending has always been the biggest knock on this team, but just look at how strong Connor Hellebuyck has played over this hot stretch. If he gets hot at the right time (I’m talking mid-April) then this team could honestly win a round in the playoffs.
According to Sportsnet, Jarome Iginla doesn’t want to retire yet, should the Oilers take a shot at him?
The Jarome Iginla of 3-5 years ago would have really helped this current Oilers team. He could score, keep up in a skilled top-six and even contribute on the powerplay. Unfortunately, that’s just not what Iginla is anymore.
Last year, while he produced like an average second line winger, his underlying numbers show he was more of a 3rd line player. He dragged down the shot attempt numbers for his linemates, was on the ice for too many high-quality chances against and a lot of that has to do with his sudden decrease in foot speed.
The Oilers are already struggling with team speed and their biggest need is a skilled top-six winger who can score. That’s just not who Iginla is anymore. I think there’s a better chance we see Iginla in an Olympic jersey this year than any NHL uniform.
Who has the best center depth in the league right now?
That’s a loaded question and probably deserves a longer answer, but I’ll list a few teams who are deserving of that nod.
Obviously, the Penguins have two of the best centers in the league with Malkin and Crosby, so that’s an obvious answer. If the Oilers ever move Leon Draisaitl to the middle, they could run McDavid – Draisaitl – Nugent-Hopkins which is insanely deep.
Although the results aren’t there, the Dallas Stars might be the deepest on paper. Seguin – Spezza – Hanzal – Faksa give them four high-level centers and I can’t find another team in the league who currently run four centers with their pedigree.
One team to watch going forward is the Islanders. Matt Barzal is developing quickly this year and in the future, if they run Tavares-Barzal-Nelson-Cizikas, they’ll be mentioned with the other elite groups in the NHL.
Honourable mentions: The Leafs (Matthews-Kadri-Bozak), The Capitals (Backstrom-Kuznetsov), The Lightning (Stamkos-Point-Johnson-Pacquette) and The Ducks (Getzlaf-Kesler-Vermette).