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Derek Gagnon is a contributor at ArcticIce.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekGagnon1.

Overhanging the Jets season is a sort of “Cap-ocalypse” in the summer. Does this season have a feeling of now or never?
Not so much, though there is a feeling that this group will see some change next year. This team is still young, and players like Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine should only improve as time goes by. The way things are going, the Jets should be a contender for a number of years to come.
With the cap going to $83 million or so, the Jets have something around $27 million in space now, with Trouba, Laine, Connor seemingly the must-keeps, along with a few other free agents. It seems doable, Is it?
I think it’s doable, though some sacrifices will have to be made along the way. Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor look to be Jets long term, and will get paid handsomely on their next contracts. There are some questions on defense though. The Jacob Trouba contract situation has been a concern for years, and with only one more season of restricted-free agent status left after this season, if they aren’t able to sign him long term it may be time to move him in the off-season. Tyler Myers is another situation that needs addressing. He’s being paid $5.5 million  this year to play third pairing minutes, and not play them overly well. As an unrestricted free agent, I would expect the Jets to cut ties, but they may not if the Trouba contract isn’t long-term.

The cap being projected to go up to $83 million definitely works in the Jets favor, as that extra room will come in handy. Even then, it might mean more players on entry-level contracts on the team, rather than guys like Brandon Tanev. Mason Appleton and Kristian Vesalainen are a couple of names that could benefit from a cap crunch.

Why hasn’t Jack Roslovic popped more? Huge pedigree, big excitement, is it just the fourth line role he has right now?
Right now, I think it’s a combination of a lack of minutes and the insistence he play center, where he seems to be struggling. While dominant at the AHL level, it just hasn’t clicked at the NHL level yet. Things seemed to be progressing when he was briefly reunited with the former Manitoba Moose (AHL) line of Nic Petan, Roslovic and Mason Appleton, but Petan was dropped from the lineup in favor of Brendan Lemieux and there hasn’t been chemistry. Playing an average of 7:43 per night doesn’t help either.
Is there real worry about Connor Hellebuyck two months plus into the season? Or just negotiating the following season after playing deep into the playoffs for the first time and he’ll bounce back in plenty of time?
I think that it actually might be the change in pads that has plagued Connor Hellebuyck. The smaller chest protector seems to be taking some getting used to for Hellebuyck, which has seen more rebounds and the occasional tentative effort. I have full confidence that he will adapt and overcome, as he has exhibited his ability to be great at every level he has played at, including the NHL. His last three starts have been quite solid, stopping a combined 89 of 92 shots, so perhaps that corner has been turned.

 

Game #32 Preview Suite

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We mean, she could be. We’re not exactly sure. But no hockey fan ever is. Anyway, follow her @HappyCaraT.

The Jets sit at 28 points, fourth in the division at the time of writing but only two points off second, and which is a 104-point place. And yet it doesn’t feel like the Jets have truly fired yet. Is that a misconception? What’s been holding them back from a real nuclear run if not?

I recently saw a stat in 31 Thoughts about the Jets and the problem with them is they are not beating teams higher than them in the standings. They can beat up on the Ottawa Senators of the league, but struggle against the Nashville Predators. And their defence is a problem, but I will expand on that later.

Blake Wheeler only has four goals but 23 assists. When did he become Adam Oates?

Wheeler seems to be struggling this year; although I have not looked at his 5v5 stats lately. He is wonderful, but he has looked hurt to start the year and he also has struggled to push the play offensively. However, he is money on the power play with Patrik Laine and that is wonderful unto itself.

What is Jacob Trouba? We’ve always been fans but his playoffs last year were not impressive and the metrics aren’t always kind to him. Is Josh Morrissey the real keeper on the top pair?

I think Morrissey is the better player, but I have a lot of questions around Trouba in general. He was wonderful for a while, but I wonder if something is up there. I have not looked much into the top three defensemen on the Jets as the other three are of greater concern, but I wonder if it has to do with trying to do too much. That pairing gets taxed with a lot.

What’s up with Connor Hellebuyck’s struggles?

Ah Connor Hellebuyck. He plays behind Joe Morrow and Tyler Myers regularly. The Jets defence is seriously missing a third pair and even a number four defenseman. I think this affects Hellebuyck a lot as the defence is very scrammbly. They were not much better at the start of last year, but with the loss of Toby Enstrom to Sweden, the Jets are in a hard place on defence and it is showing with his results. That says, he also seems less set than last year. I dunno. I don’t get the Jets.

 

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Garret is a contributor for JetsNation.ca. You can follow him on Twitter @GarretHohl.

Let’s start with Connor Hellebuyck, who was supposed to fix the Jets’ biggest problem for years. It hasn’t worked out that way. What’s been the problem? Still hopeful or is this worrying? Are most of the problems on the kill?

Hellebuyck has indeed been better than Pavelec’s overall average. A career 914 save percentage is still better than a 907, and that’s significant. All things being equal, that is an improvement that will lead to wins.

The issue is that all things have not been equal. Team struggles on special teams, penalty differential, and have been their worst shot metric team (both Corsi and expected goals) since the move to Winnipeg.

It’s still early to tell what Hellebuyck will be, you need about 3000 shots (ish) for that. I have confidence he’s an answer to getting something better than Pavelec. The real question: how much better?