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The Jets New Year Resolutions

January 2, 2019, 10:11 AM ET [47 Comments]
Peter Tessier
Winnipeg Jets Blogger •Winnipeg Jets Writer • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Every year we all make resolutions regarding ourselves and lives and what we want to change and for the Winnipeg Jets there are probably a few that need to be made. If you saw the last article the Jets are not only slightly better than where they were last year via standings they are also doing it a bit differently. There is room for improvement.

Play in front of the net. The defense needs to be more aggressive and assertive in front of their own net. Far too often opposition players have been in front with little more than a stick near them and hardly a touch. The defense needs to adopt a 'no fly zone' in front and make sure anyone who does go through hits some major turbulence. Furthermore, the communication has to be better around coverage and rotation based on the hybrid zone man-to-man coverage Paul Maurice employs.

Zone exits and neutral zone transition. The Jets have had a ton of trouble moving the puck out of their zone near the blue line and being effective through the neutral zone. Often it has to do with short passes that are more chipped pucks and the reads before them. Too often the Jets are trying to breakout and the passes are late, ill-timed, or desperate shots that miss or are intercepted. Fix the exit and let the team use it's speed and the transition game should improve as well as better zone entires.

Patrik Laine's puck play. If there is a guy who needs to simplify his game it's Laine. Every time he gets the puck does not require a deke, move or dangle. More importantly he just needs to move it along and be in position to get it back. When he was on his goal-scoring tear he was involved in many plays starting in his own zone and being a part of the rush. For Laine it can be what he does without the puck that will help him even more when he gets it. Keep it simple, keep it smart.

Between the pipes. The Jets have had a rather good performance as a whole by their goaltenders but the number one has to be better. His game-saving save in the dying minutes on NYE was perhaps the first time he has saved a game let alone a win so far this season. Hellebuyck needs to find his inner peace and play his smooth confident game, trust his pads and get back to sound positioning. By moving his number up into the .915-.920 range likely means a few extra wins for the team.

Roster optimization. Yeah I went there. Paul Maurice needs to be open to chances for all players not just the ones he feels can be better. If there are guys he thinks have hit their ceiling- let them go. The Jets have enough bottom 6 depth that he can try more looks depending on the opposition and other factors. It's time to use it so that the 4th line helps level out the top line minutes that are trending too high for Scheifele and Wheeler.

There's probably some smaller more micro-oriented things to work on but if the Jets and individual players make headway on these areas this could be a repeat of the amazing run they had from last January on. It's the halfway point and now is the time to start dealing with these issues not as you inch closer to the playoffs in March.
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