The Winnipeg Jets are off to a rough start, going 1-3-0 in their first 4 games. The emotional homecoming to Winnipeg, the hype, has outweighed the product on the ice. Could this be a mere funk or could it be much more?
The Jets, once Atlanta Thrashers, has a lot of players under-producing. The list is as follows:
Bryan Little, a fifth year NHLer has 0 points in the first 4 games. Last year Little put up 48 points, a 14 point increase from the year before that. Although it is not expected of Little to make another 14 point jump this season, it is however expected that Little at least meet is last years point total.
Evander Kane is young with the speed and the talent to put up numbers. Currently 0 points thus far, Kane needs to start meshing with his line-mates. In his second NHL season last year, Kane contributed 19 goals and 24 assists. The 40 point mark should be obtainable, especially if he continues to skate second line minutes. Perhaps his day-to-day injury is the cause of his lack of production. Time will tell.
The fan favorite Dustin Byfuglien is perhaps the most surprising of all the players with his lack of production. Able to play both forward or wing, also getting a lot of time on the powerplay, Byfuglien has 0 points and a -4 rating in his 4 games. Averaging 3.75 shots a game, fans can only hope the dam breaks soon.
Two-time Stanley Cup Winner Andrew Ladd knows what it takes to be a winner, or at least be on a winning team. In both his Cup wins Ladd was a contributor but no the go to guy. After being traded to the Jets in the off-season after the 2009-2010 season, Ladd became that guy you could depend on. He put up a career high of 29 goals and 30 assists for a total of 59 points. Could that of been an abnormal season, sure, but with only 1 goal so far, the Jets still need more out of him.
It is said that transitioning and growing into a top-level NHL player is harder for defense. Tobias Enstrom is in his fifth season and is coming off of back-to-back 50 point seasons. Mainly a set-up man on the powerplay, Enstrom does not have a powerplay point as of yet.
A combined .880 save percentage between both Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason could be the real problem for the Jets. Letting in a combined 14 goals in 4 games, the two net-minders do not seem like either one of them wants the starting position.
It still could be just a rough start and they could make playoffs. It could also be the team is still not quite playoff caliber. Last year the Jets/Thrashers missed the playoffs and finished in 12th place. Either way, all the hype surrounding the homecoming is coming down to earth as fans see that no matter how much you want your home team to win, it just may not happen. Hopefully the players can start putting some more “W’s” on the board and give their faithful fans a ticket worth purchasing.