Give the Winnipeg Jets credit: through the first 17 games of the schedule, they have won nearly twice as many as they’ve lost, own one of the best home records in the NHL and are contending for top spot in their division.
And they’ve done so while absorbing a pretty sizable pile of injuries around them — especially to key players like Mason Appleton, Morgan Barron and Nikolaj Ehlers, the latter of which is a six-time 20-goal scorer who has played a grand total of just two games this season.
Toss in the absence of Logan Stanley since late October and Dylan DeMelo over the last three games and the man-games lost keeps climbing at a somewhat concerning trajectory.
‘I can finally afford a house,’ Toronto man says after winning $55M lottery jackpot
Stiff-person syndrome: What we know about Céline Dion’s rare condition
It was only the other day that head coach Rick Bowness admitted the franchise’s organizational depth is now being tested.
It’s well understood and accepted in hockey that injuries are part of it and no team is exempt, but there’s also a belief that even for the good teams, there’s a falling-off point if you incur too many of them.
The Winnipeg Jets are perhaps nearing that airspace.
Now, the good news is DeMelo will likely play this week and Barron and Stanley are on the mend, but one wonders if another key long-term casualty is sustained, would the organization be interested — or more aggressively, forced — into filling that hole from outside Manitoba?
Knowing how the Jets operate in forecasting such scenarios, that subject has most certainly come up in the boardroom and perhaps inquiries have already been made into the availability of proficient reinforcements — especially if the recovery time for someone like Ehlers is longer than initially pronounced.
So yes, give the Winnipeg Jets credit. They’ve survived — and thrived — to this point in spite of their injuries, but one or two more at the wrong time or to the wrong player — without some outside help — could send them in the wrong direction.