The Winnipeg Jets wrapped up their 2016-17 season this weekend with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators. The club ended the year with 87 points, missing out on a playoff spot by a fairly sizable margin.
With the year in the books, forward Mathieu Perreault wasted no time offering up his thoughts on the team’s weaknesses. He blasted the Jets’ goaltending to Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun.
#NHLJets Mathieu Perreault:"There’s no team making the playoffs that isn’t getting saves so we are going to definitely need some saves too."
— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) April 9, 2017
Those comments probably won’t go over too well in the dressing room.
Perreault isn’t wrong. In fact, he’s right on the money. However, this is one of those Walter Sobchak moments where Perreault isn’t wrong, but he might be an asshole.
Connor Hellebuyck, Michael Hutchinson, Ondrej Pavelec and Eric Comrie struggled in goal for the Jets this season and that’s being kind. As a team, the Jets had a .900 save percentage which ranks third-worst in the NHL. Hellebuyck was the best of the bunch with a 2.89 GAA and a .907 save percentage in 56 total games. Hutchinson was second in terms of games played and overall stats, compiling a 2.92 GAA and a .903 save percentage in 28 games. Pavelec and Comrie only appeared in a combined nine games (Comrie only had one of those), but their numbers were even worse.
Of course, how a team plays in front of a goaltender greatly influences those statistics too. As a whole, the Jets have a pretty solid group of defensemen. Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba are three members of a decent cast of defenders who assisted in limiting the opponent’s chances. The Jets did a great job of limiting 5-on-5 chances (they ranked near the league average), but they still allowed the fourth-most goals.
It’s clear goaltending is (and has been) an issue for the Jets. Perreault’s comments may be a bit harsh, but he’s not wrong. The Jets are doing a lot of things the right way, but they won’t be a true contender until they find some stability in net.