Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jets Trade Deadline Wishlist: Goal Scorers

Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers was the prime exhibit of the problem that plagues the Winnipeg Jets this season: scoring goals.

It's been obvious for a while that the Jets have troubles finding the back of the net.

This same team last year did only have two 20 goal scorers in Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd (and only Ladd may get back to that 20 goal mark) and didn't really have any impressive showings of offensive production in years to come.

Last season, as the Thrashers, the team scored 223 goals while allowing 269, a difference of -46, which ranked fourth worst in goals for/goals against ratios behind Edmonton, Colorado, and Ottawa.

This season, the ratio is much improved, but still lacking.

The Jets are -18 when it comes to their goals for/goals against ratio with 129 goals for and 147 against. They rank sixth worst in their ratio and rank 22nd in the league for goals for.

While they have scored more goals than playoff teams such as St. Louis (125) and Los Angeles (114), the Jets find themselves still needing a perennial 30+ goal scorer to make them a real contender and push the ratio into the positive numbers.

At season's start, Evander Kane was looked upon as that man. But now on the shelf, the Jets have to rely on a semi-consistent Andrew Ladd (16 goals), Bryan Little (12 goals) who went on a 14 game goalless drought until last night, team leader in points Blake Wheeler (10 goals), and an inconsistent Kyle Wellwood (10 goals).

Compared to teams in their division, the Jets do not stack up well.

Washington has seven 10+ goal scorers as of February 4 - including Alex Ovechkin at 20, Troy Brouwer at 15, and Jason Chimera at 14.

Tampa Bay has five 10+ goal scorers, one of whom is Steven Stamkos with 33 along with Vincent Lecavalier at 19, while Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell both have 13.

Florida has four 10+ goal scorers, with Kris Versteeg leading the way with 20, Tomas Fleischmann has 16, while Stephen Weiss and Jason Garrison has 13.

Even Carolina has six 10+ goal scorers in Tuomo Rutuu (16), Jeff Skinner (14), Eric Staal (12), and Brandon Sutter (12) to name a few.

The fact that the Jets had only three players with more than 10 goals before their win in Tampa Bay speaks to the dire and immediate need for offense.

Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason have been the reasons the Jets are still over .500 and hunting for a playoff spot.

For the trade deadline, of course, all Jets fans want the team to make a move for a goal scorer, but at what cost?

Patience is a necessity for the young Jets and though the wishlist is short, it may take an even longer time before Winnipeg gets another Teemu Selanne, who can put the puck in the net night in and night out.

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