Phase 3 training camp overview: can Hellebuyck des Jets get Vezina back?

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At the time of the break, the Winnipeg Jets were playing some of their best hockey games and had their longest winning streak of the season (four games), while establishing a model of how they had to play to be successful.

These qualities were demonstrated in a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the last game before the long break. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made some nifty deals before the NHL trade deadline without sacrificing much of the future, and the two paid immediate dividends. The arrival of Dylan DeMelo of the Ottawa Senators stabilized a reshaped defense team and provided a stable partner to Josh Morrissey in the best duo, while the addition of Cody Eakin of the Vegas Golden Knights brought some experience and strengthened a group of talented attackers.

As camp opens Monday, July 13, can Jets overtake Calgary Flames and advance to Stanley Cup Playoffs for third consecutive season, or will they be in the mix for first choice in the general classification of the preliminary lottery?

Record in regular season: 38-27-6 (ninth in the West in percentage points)
Goals for: 216 (16th in the NHL)
Goals against: 203 (12 p.m. in the NHL)
Best striker: Kyle Connor (38 ans)
Best marker: Connor, Mark Scheifele (73)

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Injury updates

Bryan Little: The status of the veteran striker remains unknown, as he missed the last 54 games of the season with a perforated eardrum which has since been repaired surgically. Little has also suffered a concussion this season (including one in the last pre-season game against the Minnesota Wild on September 29 and another on November 5 against the New Jersey Devils), so the Jets will be cautious about concerns his potential return to the action of the game.

Can it return to speed over time to make a contribution? If he obtains medical clearance and plays at the level he was before the injury (five points in seven games), it would be a boost for the Jets’ group of attackers.

Luca Sbisa: After blocking 71 shots and recording 91 hits in 44 games this season, Sbisa missed the last 10 games of the regular season with upper body disease. He is in the mix to compete for time on the third pairing with Nathan Beaulieu and Tucker Poolman.

Sbisa, who was claimed for an exemption from the Anaheim Ducks in late October, has 32 playoff games (including 12 with Vegas in 2018) in her resume and brings a physical element to the table when her number is called .

Sami Niku: In a season filled with abnormal injuries – including a car accident with Kristian Vesalainen on the first day of training camp – the Finnish Blue-Liner suffered a lower body problem before the warm-up before – match on February 25 before a game against the Washington Capitals – forcing him to miss the last six games of the regular season. He is likely to start the series on the sidelines, but has the mobility and the ability to move the puck to make a contribution if an opportunity arises.

Lead writer Ryan Dixon and NHL editor Rory Boylen still give him 110%, but never trust podcasting clichés. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a diverse group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

Player to watch

After a slow start (eight points in 16 games) by Blake Wheeler’s high standards after consecutive 91-point seasons, the Jets captain has been one of the most productive players in the NHL in the past 55 games, scoring 17 goals and 57 points. This pace propelled him 16th in the NHL during this period.

But will Wheeler start the play-in series alongside his known teammates Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor? Or could he go back to the role of second-line center that he enjoyed for much of the season after Little was injured? This is a scenario to follow over the next few weeks.

An interesting statistic: 25

The number of power play points produced by defenseman Neal Pionk in his first season with the Jets after the successful exchange with the New York Rangers. The 25-point total left him at the head of the Jets and 12th in the NHL, tied with Auston Matthews, Nikita Kucherov, Quinn Hughes and JT Miller. As a benchmark, Leon Draisaitl had 44 power points to lead the league.

Possible line combinations

Forward

Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Cody Eakin – Patrik Laine
Andrew Copp – Adam Lowry – Jack Roslovic
Mathieu Perreault – Nicholas Shore – Mason Appleton

Defense

Josh Morrissey – Dylan DeMelo
Dmitry Kulikov – Neal Pionk
Nathan Beaulieu – Tucker Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck
Laurent Brossoit

The biggest question facing the Jets is …

How quickly can Connor Hellebuyck return to the Vezina application form?

The Jets have a goalkeeper who is the favorite to win the Vézina Trophy and no one has faced a higher chance of scoring a higher hazard than Hellebuyck this season. Having a hot goalie is crucial at all times, but especially during a best of five streak. Hellebuyck is looking to leverage his experience in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he led the Jets to the Western Conference finals.



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