The Winnipeg Jets are in a strong position to be the number one seed in the Western Conference standings. At 63 points, their only hurdle are the shocking Las Vegas Golden Knights, who lead the NHL at the moment with 66 points.
If anyone asked a dozen hockey writers at the beginning of the season if the Jets would have three more points than the Golden Knights in the final two months of the season, everybody would say yes. Now it would be interesting to poll that same group.
One could argue that the National Hockey League Jets have never been this good. The old Jets prior to them moving to Arizona had their flashes of offensive brilliance, first led by Dale Hawerchuk and then led by Teemu Selanne, but the old Jets never contended for first place in the Campbell or Western Conference.
Now, you should realize I wrote the National Hockey League Jets. One must remember the great Winnipeg Jets of the old World Hockey Association, which won the Avco World Trophy three times in four years (1976, 1978 and 1979). Those teams were led by Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg, Kent Nilsson, Morris Lukowich, Peter Sullivan and Terry Ruskowski. It would have been interesting to see just how good the WHA Jets would have done in the 1970s against those great Montreal Canadiens teams that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979.
The 2017-18 version of the Jets have a combination of size and skill that the other 30 NHL teams need to take notice. At 6’5”, 225 pounds, Blake Wheeler is developing into one of the NHL’s best power forwards. He leads the Jets with 40 assists and 54 points. Patrik Laine is in his sophomore season and has 21 goals and 17 assists for 38 points.
The Jets are also getting consistent offensive production as a unit—from Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Little. Their top four d-men of Tyler Myers, Josh Morrissey, Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba also deserve praise.
With 34 games left, the Jets are making noise and it could be them that win Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993. Due to the fact they were not in Winnipeg from 1996 to 2011, they could get national support from hockey fans coast to coast come May.