Winnipeg Jets' Wish-list for Santa Claus
With Christmas fast approaching, I figured now could be a great to time compile the top things Kevin Cheveldayoff, Rick Bowness, and the rest of the Winnipeg Jets organization may have on their wish-list for Saint Nicholas.
I would like to say, I know that not everybody reading this celebrates Christmas. For those who don't, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, and Happy Holidays to everyone!
Traditionally, people will write Santa Claus a list, addressed to the North Pole (which Winnipeg might as well be with their freezing cold temperatures, eh?). This list usually has all of the things they would like under their Christmas tree when the time comes to open them on Christmas morning. Other parts of the letter typically includes how good they have been this year, as a tactic to persuade Santa to get them the gifts they ask for.
The Winnipeg Jets have been very good this year (2022-23 NHL Season). While on the ice, they have been performing well above expectations, brining joy to Jets fans from all over, but off the ice, they have had their fair share of good deeds and positive engagements. Whether it be the on ice performance, the True North Youth Foundation, or even Jets prospect Danny Zhilkin creating Zhilkin's Vision. Whichever way you look at it, I think the Jets are deserving a few gifts this Christmas.
A Healthy Group
Health is extremely important, especially when a team is playing as well as they have been to start the year. Overall, the Jets have been fairly lucky with their team's health, they have lost some key pieces. As of December 16th, the Jets have the 8th least amount of man-games lost, meaning that based on their expected lineup, only 7 teams have lost games played by those injured players. Now, unfortunately, Nikolaj Ehlers makes up a lot of those games. One of the Jets' best players, Ehlers, has only played two games this season. Of the ~80 man-games lost, he accounts for 29, and now with Blake Wheeler and Nate Schmidt set to miss at least a month, the Jets could really use an injury break from key players.
The Jets current IR list is Ehlers, Wheeler, Schmidt, Mason Appleton, Saku Maenalanen and Logan Stanley.
All that being said, they have faired out pretty well given the injuries they have had. Ehlers and Wheeler both out takes me into the next point.
The Jets current depth chart on the right-wing is Karson Kuhlman, Sam Gagner, Jansen Harkins and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby. This is simply not good enough. Mikey Eyssimont is also on the NHL roster, but is falling out of the lineup. Each of these players have had stints of success with the group, but ideally none of them should be near the top-six. The duos of Cole Perfetti and Mark Scheifele, and Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois are good enough to have anyone tag along, but real success comes with full, productive trios.
Some options on the right side could include Brock Boeser, Timo Meier, Patrick Kane, and plenty of others. Now it would take a lot of (Christmas) magic to make these happen, whether it be based on the asking price or salary implications, but I believe that it would be a great move for Cheveldayoff to pull the trigger on one of these high end wingers.
Prospect's Develop Accordingly
The Jets have a great group of players coming up through the system. Whether it be players fighting for a spot like Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg, or extremely promising prospects like Rutger McGroarty. Dmitri Rashevsky and Chaz Lucius, or some boom-or-bust picks like Brad Lambert and Dmitri Kuzmin. Each of them, and more, have the potential to become big impact players at the NHL level between now and 2-3 years time. With the World Juniors coming up, Lambert, McGroarty, Lucius and Fabian Wagner will all be representing their countries in the tournament. Some promising performances would be an excellent sign for things to come.
As I mentioned in my last piece, I will keep up with updating you all on the Jets prospects participating in the World Juniors tournament, and how they are doing!
If you have anything else you would like to add to the Jets wish-list, make sure to leave them in the comment section below!
As I said above, happy holidays to all of you and your families!