By: Tim "Bones" Bonnar
As the NHL trade deadline approaches I'm hearing all sorts of talk about trades that the Jets could, should, or according to some cases, MUST make. I understand why, Winnipeg hockey fans are a passionate bunch. We want a winner and we want it right now, plus the play of our 2011-2012 Winnipeg Jets has had added fuel to the fire.
An incredible month of December inspired playoff dreams, even among some of the biggest doubters. A terrible January brought us back to earth and created a new kind of doubt, doubt about heart, doubt about effort and doubt about talent. Now fans are sure that the team must be underachieving. This simply isn`t the case, what we saw in December was a glimpse of what the future holds. The team simply isn’t there yet.
If you are one of the people who is clamouring for wholesale changes, ask yourself this;
What is likely the more accurate reflection of the team ?
a) A very good December?
b) Or a bad 2010-11 campaign and a very mediocre October, November, January and February?
We can blame the schedule. We can blame injuries, but the reality is that this team has been bad more than they have been good. This is the same team finished last season ranked 25th in the NHL with a -46 goal differential. This year the Jets Rank 22nd and they are on pace to finish with a -33 goal differential.
All that said, the playoffs are still in reach. This isn’t because of how good the Jets have been, this is more a reflection of just how bad the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is. We aren’t watching the Jets win games to stay in the hunt, we are watching other teams lose to keep us in the hunt. Does that mean we should we give up hope? Of course not. We do have a chance. Toronto and Washington are extremely inconsistent and the Jets will play Washington head to head. We can still make the playoffs.
To me, the big questions are: “Would making the playoffs be a good thing?” and “What would making the playoffs be worth?” I will approach this subject from a few different angles over the coming weeks. What do we have? What do we need? Who would and wouldn’t fit at the trade deadline and why?