Understatement of the first month of the 2013-14 season: the Winnipeg Jets have not gotten off to a great start.
For fans, points of frustration include coach Claude Noel, goalie Ondrej Pavelec, the inconsistency of the forward group, or even the deplorabale play of the defense corps.
All good talking points of frustration.
All realisitic problems on a team that hasn't lived up to expectations through the first month of a season that sees the team six points out of the playoffs, while they could have been two points out of a playoff spot in the East (if they were still there).
It's a team that is spinning its wheels trying to swim with the big boys of the Western Conferece – a much toughter Western Conference.
The East has its big dogs – the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and others.
The West have bigger dogs – the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, LA Kings, and Anaheim Ducks among others.
The big picture: the Jets are drowning trying to swim with the bigger dogs.
To show how much they are drowning, here are some stats:
– Jets let in 2.93 goals against a game while scoring only 2.20 goals per game. In the Western Conference, where goals are at a premium more than the East, the Jets have to let in much less.
– 26th ranked powerplay at 10.9%. Powerplay has been sputtering and ineffective, both on offensive zone entries and on offensive zone possession, especially in the corners.
– Jets have the 8th most shots for per game with 31.5 and 9th most shots against 31.4 shots. Sure the Jets have the 8th most shots for per game, but they are not quality chances, mostly from the perimeter. Shots for would be even higher if the Jets could get shots through on powerplays or from the point. The 31.4 shots against is mostly due to the fact the Jets defense corps cannot clear the net properly.
– 50% of games Jets score first they win, only New Jersey, Edmonton, and Buffalo score first and win less than Winnipeg.
– When leading after one, the Jets have not won a game this season. The Jets have won 75% of the games they have lead after two periods.
– Jets are 29th in the league in faceoff percentage at 44.5%. Only Calgary is worse at 43.9%. Bryan Little is 44.3%, Olli Jokinen is 43.0%, and Mark Scheifele is 39.9% on faceoffs. While injured Jim Slater is at 50.5%.
Here are some positive stats for the Jets:
– 12th ranked penalty kill at 83.6%. Penalty kill has been doing well lately.
– Bryan Little (11 points) and Andrew Ladd (10 points) are leading the team in scoring while Bryan Little (7) and Evander Kane (6) leads the team in goals. Not all great stats through 15 games, but still Little and Kane are doing well through one month.
– Jacob Trouba, though injured, has shown a brigh spot for the future on defense. He is responsible defensively (probably the most out of all the defensive corps), can skate, score, and is nasty in the corners.
– Zach Bogosian is +3, Mark Stuart is +2, and Toby Enstrom is +1. Three defense in the plus' is one more than all regular defensemen who were plus' at season's end last year (Clistome +10, Stuart +5).
– Evander Kane is third in the league in shots. Though they may not be all quality shots, he is still trying to get shots on net and getting scoring chances.
For the Jets to improve, there is no one solution, but for fans to be skeptical of any one things, let's remember, as a good friend of mine has said:
If we lose the Jets again, we may never get them back. Let's get behind our team win or lose.