Top player from Jets – Canadiens
Morgan Barron, Jets
After going pointless in his first five games with the Jets, Morgan Barron scored a goal and an assist vs. the Canadiens on Monday.
In his previous 18 games with the Rangers (13 games this season, five in 2020-21), Barron managed a goal and an assist. He was part of the significant trade that sent Andrew Copp to the Rangers. (The Rangers selected Barron in the sixth round [174th overall] in 2017.)
In grading the Andrew Copp trade, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman wrote the following (sub required) about Morgan Barron:
Morgan Barron is a big center with good hockey sense and competitiveness who can finish from mid-range but has heavy feet. He’s got a chance to be a fourth-line center. Also funny note that he gets traded on the same day his brother Justin is dealt to Montreal.
Nothing wrong with seeing what Barron, 23, can bring to the table as the Jets’ season is toast.
Jets – Canadiens highlights
With only one game in the NHL on Monday, check out all that Jets – Canadiens had to offer:
Monday NHL Takeaways
Big blow to Kings: Season-ending surgery for Drew Doughty
With Mark Stone nearing a return, the Kings already seemed to have a tenuous grip on their playoff spot. Now the Kings need to hold on without Drew Doughty, as he underwent season-ending surgery.
As this post notes, they’ve at least had some experience. Doughty’s been sidelined since March 10, and only played in 39 games overall this season.
NHL suspends Evgeni Malkin for four games
In a somewhat surprising verdict, the NHL suspended Evgeni Malkin four games for cross-checking Mark Borowiecki.
Frankly, Malkin’s history of blurring the line (at best) when he loses his temper is robust enough that it’s honestly a bit surprising he’s only been suspended twice in his career. (That’s counting this latest verdict.)
What do you think of the decision? Feel free to share in the comments, on social media, or elsewhere. Just… you know, try to be more civil than Malkin was with Borowiecki. Here’s the explanation video:
What can we expect from the Winnipeg Jets after another lost season?
Remember when the Jets looked like they were built for years of contention? Not that long ago, this seemed like the team of the future.
Heading into this season, expectations weren’t nearly as high for the Jets as those loftier days. Still, with what seemed like a more competent defense, a playoff berth wasn’t an outrageous thought.
Instead, the Jets faced the Canadiens with a lot of the same thoughts. Each team was thinking about next season, at least when they weren’t already daydreaming about golf and vacations.
So, what kind of expectations should we have for the Jets going forward? If you want an interesting exercise, realize how many different Jets players seem like they could be part of something more successful.
- Has Kyle Connor produced the quietest 40+ goal season in ages? It’s remarkable that he has a shot at 50. Connor’s in the meat of his prime at just 25, too.
- Also quiet: Mark Scheifele’s point-per-game season (70 points in 67 games).
- They’ve still enjoyed quality production from Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers. Some may also forget that they employ Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s put up numbers (26 goals, 54 points) and shown some serious snarl (100 penalty minutes).
- You may look at Connor Hellebuyck’s numbers (.911 save percentage heading into Jets – Canadiens) and think he’s stumbled. If so, he’s only dipped by his own high standards. This Hockey Viz chart points to a goalie who continues to shine:
[PHT’s latest Power Rankings]
That bloated expected goals total above hints at the bad part. Some of the Jets’ best offensive players also rank among their biggest defensive problems.
Truly, it’s kind of jaw-dropping to see both Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele display the drastic extremes you see in visualizations such as Evolving Hockey’s player cards.
Does the good outweigh the bad? It’s an easier pro-con situation to stomach considering that neither Scheifele ($ 6.125M cap hit through 2023-24) nor Connor ($ 7.14M through 2025-26) break the bank.
However, to take a step forward, the Jets need to find some answers.
How much of these defensive issues just come down to who these forwards are? With underlying numbers so extreme, could a coaching change solve some of these issues? If not, is it about putting Connor, Scheifele, and others in truly extreme offensive situations, and finding truly great defensive forwards to shoulder huge own-zone burdens?
Despite these last few troubling seasons, it’s not so difficult to picture the Jets figuring this out. Connor Hellebuyck’s frequently in the conversation for best goal in the world. They boast some top-end scoring talent. Cole Perfetti is the sort of prospect who could help, and possibly soon. Maybe a coaching upgrade can tighten up some loose ends.
Nonetheless, right now, the Jets look more than a little lost (though they won against the Canadiens).
A big story for Tuesday
Can Rangers wrestle the Metropolitan Division away from the Hurricanes?
For a decent chunk of time, it seemed like the Hurricanes would cruise to a Metropolitan Division title. The bigger question revolved around whether or not they might grab the top spot in the East.
Amid some modest stumbles, the Hurricanes’ ambitions are now more muted. Heading into Tuesday’s game against the Rangers, the Hurricanes only hold a two-point lead (102 to 100) for the Metro title. While the Hurricanes would still maintain a tiebreaker edge, the Rangers could create a virtual tie by beating Carolina in regulation. Both teams have played 73 games so far this season, so there’s no games in hand advantage to consider.
Ultimately, the Hurricanes hold a meaningful edge over the Rangers to win the Metro title. It’s remarkable that the Rangers gained so much ground, though, and this could get really tight if the Hurricanes lose on Tuesday.
Jets – Canadiens score
Jets 4, Canadiens 2
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.