Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/2/2015 (2359 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A little this and that after five days on the road with the Winnipeg Jets.
Deep blue line
Here’s a quote Red Wings coach Mike Babcock offered Saturday when talking about the Jets.
"They’ve got Buff (Dustin Byfuglien), (Tyler) Myers and (Jacob) Trouba on the right side. And, I think, (Toby) Enstrom is an elite player," said Babcock. "That’s a pretty good backend."
Myers and Enstrom appear to be a match made in heaven. They can both skate, Enstrom is an elite passer and Myers has a blast of a shot. Byfuglien and rookie Ben Chiarot work well together and Trouba pairs nicely with veteran Mark Stuart.
Look for Maurice to pare down to four D at certain moments putting Byfuglien and Trouba together with Buff on the left side and keeping Myers and Enstrom intact.
Next up are the dreadful Edmonton Oilers and the Jets need to take care of business on their march to the playoffs. There can be no trap games. The Oilers are awful and the Jets need to stomp them to continue down the road to the post-season. A loss would be distasteful and beneath the Jets at this point in their development.
Points, points points
The Jets now picked up points in five of their last six games. The key for the Jets as they hope to secure a playoff berth for the first time since returning to Winnipeg will be to collect points on as many nights as possible over the remaining 24 games. Winnipeg now owns a 29-19-10 mark for 68 points and the first wild card berth in the Western Conference. If it takes 94 points to get in, the Jets must collect 26 more points. Slightly better than .500 hockey the rest of the way should get Winnipeg into the post-season.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has said he’s interested in adding another forward for his bottom six and two names that keep coming up are Toronto Maple Leafs penalty killing specialist Daniel Winnik and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Matt Calvert.
The Brandon native Calvert is set to be a restricted free agent this summer and with the Jackets out of the playoff picture, he’s rumoured to be available and the asking price isn’t too high.
Calvert, 25, has seven goals and seven assists in 42 games this season.
The Blue Jackets have a salary cap crunch looming and word is Calvert could be had for a second round pick or a medium prospect.
The scouting report on Calvert is that he plays hard with a strong pursuit based game. He has good but not great finish and is a third line player on a contending team.
The Leafs are selling whatever they can and Winnik is expected to cost a second and a third round pick or a prospect and a pick.
Shortly following former Jets forward Olli Jokinen being traded from the Nashville Predators to the Leafs, his wife Katerina fired off the following tweet from her account @MrsJoki: "Never did like mustard yellow." On the surface the tweet was about the colour of the Preds jerseys but likely also had something to do with the fact Jokinen could no longer get in Nashville’s lineup. Jokinen was in essence taken on by the Leafs so Nashville could clear salary cap room for the incoming Mike Santorelli and Cody Franzen.
Jokinen has had a nice career but has fallen off the last few years. This may be the end of the line in the NHL for Jokinen. My favourite memory of his time in Winnipeg actually came in Sochi where Jokinen played a significant role for Finland. Following a win over the Russians, Jokinen stopped in the mixed zone, blood streaming from his chin and couldn’t mask the pride he was feeling in the moment. For the Finns, knocking off the Russians was their gold medal. No doubt, if Jokinen wants to return to Europe and play in a league over there on the big ice he’ll find work.
Leipsic a Leaf
The Leafs got a jump-start on trade frenzy two weeks before the March 2 deadline by sending Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators for a first-round pick, forward prospect Brendan Leipsic and soon-to-be-free-agent centre Jokinen. The offensive defenceman and versatile forward were set to be unrestricted free agents, and dealing them was the first inevitable step toward re-shaping the roster.
Winnipeg's Leipsic will add some jam to the Leafs organization. A small forward who plays bigger than his size, Leipsic hasn’t taken no for an answer to date in his career from junior to the AHL and if the Leafs are his next challenge don’t be surprised if he climbs the mountain.