After the first round of the NHL playoffs, everything was looking great for the Jets. The Maple Leafs lost to Montreal in the first round, while the Winnipeg Jets ran over the Edmonton Oilers, winning the best of seven in just four games. Jets fans really felt this was their chance to go for a legit cup run. Going into the second round against Montreal, Winnipeg was the heavy favourite. So the question comes up, what happened to the Jets?
Towards the end of the first game in this series, Mark Scheifele threw a huge hit on Canadiens forward Jake Evans. Evans was carried off on a stretcher. The N.H.L player safety department decided that this hit was worth a four game suspension. Scheifele was a huge part of the Jets, and they really missed him in this series. In the 5 games Mark had 5 points. Scheifele is more to this team than just the way he can light the lamp. He also is a leader on and off the ice. After the series, Scheifele told reporters he felt that the N.H.L took him out of the series and never gave him a chance to make a difference. With Scheifele out, the Jets needed someone to step up and take over Mark’s role. Paul Stastny was unable to fill this role as he was injured so it was up to Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Pierre-Luc Dubois needed to be better
When the Jets picked up Pierre-Luc Dubois, they were looking to add depth into their center core while trying to replace Bryan Little. Dubois has always been an odd case as a player. He has had his moments where he lives up to the hype of being the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft. Then, there are other times where he seems very lost on the ice or he seems like he just doesn’t care. In the playoffs, Pierre-Luc seemed to be lost yet again. He was only able to get 3 assists in the 7 games he played. However, his production was not the only issue. Dubois was also a -3 during the playoffs. If you are not scoring, you need to at least be playing smart in your own end and not letting the other team score. Dubois was a big disappointment and I would not be surprised to see him moved before next season starts.
So where do the jets go from here?
The Winnipeg Jets are a hard team to figure out. They looked like two completely different teams from the first round to the second round. I don’t think firing the coach will solve anything. Paul Maurice still seems to have this team under control. I think you need to give him one more season. I think the Jets need to work on their bottom 6. They tried fixing it by picking up Pierre-Luc Dubois, but he didn’t fill the gap whatsoever. They also need to replace some of their lost defensemen. Over the last few seasons, Winnipeg lost 4 out of their top 6 defensemen. You could see this issue in the Montreal series where the Habs really controlled the play, down low. Overall, I feel it is not time to panic if you’re a Jets fan. I think this team is two moves away from making a solid run for the playoffs. Stay the course and you will see this team having success.