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Hextall on Hockey: Winnipeg Jets facing a harsh reality

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks).
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks).

Twelve goals against in two games is not what the Winnipeg Jets or their fan base want to see from the hockey club – but that’s the reality.

Connor Hellebuyck can’t be faulted, as he’s put together a Vezina-calibre season; hiding the blemishes on the Jets’ blueline.

The fact is the Jets have been plugging holes in their defense since the season started.

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After free agent farewells, the Jets blueline has been a revolving door of injuries this season, currently without the services of defencemen Nathan Beaulieu, Carl Dahlstrom and Tucker Poolman.

But even with the team’s full complement of defencemen, the unit still lacks the depth needed to contend.

As they say, it is what it is – and as the season marches on and mental and physical fatigue sets in, the Jets will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.But that was the forecasted finish prior to the season.

READ MORE: Hextall on Hockey: Familiar feeling to coaching changes

The fact is, the Jets’ consistent grip on a playoff spot has heightened expectations that just aren’t realistic.

This team is a fringe playoff team – nowhere in the conversation of a St. Louis, Dallas or Colorado.At this point, a coaching change or trade deadline acquisition could provide a small boost, but nothing that will make the Jets an elite team in the NHL.They simply don’t have the personnel on defence for that to occur.

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It’s not a hit… it’s just the reality. Which means unlike last off-season, when defencemen were not the top priority of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, this summer’s spend has to be on the Winnipeg Jets’ back end.

Students sing Canada’s national anthem in Ojibwa at Winnipeg Jets game
Students sing Canada’s national anthem in Ojibwa at Winnipeg Jets game