WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets went out with a bang, heading into the summer with seven straight victories. But the new franchise record winning streak won’t take away the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their six seasons in Winnipeg.
“It’s frustrating not playing for anything again.” Bryan Little said. “And kinda having that long summer we’ve had before.”
“You can never really feel too good about yourself when the team misses the playoffs.” said Mathieu Perreault.
“No matter when or what year it is, what team it is, whenever you don’t make the playoffs it’s not fun.” Nikolaj Ehlers said.
“It sucks not making the playoffs.” said Shawn Matthias. “But we can all get healthy now and be better next year.”
Now that the season is over players were free to reveal their real injuries, instead of saying ‘upper’ or ‘lower body’.
“I had been dealing with a bad hip for so long that when I got that done, it created a lot more range for me, and ultimately
ended up tweaking my groin.” said Tyler Myers who last played on November 11.
“I had a knee surgery too.” said Toby Enstrom. “That hasn’t been good since after Christmas.”
“I think I had five healthy games all year.” Matthias said. “Tore my MCL and my patella in my left knee, sidelined me for another two months. First shift of my first exhibition game I tore some muscles off my ribs and cracked the end of my ribs off. I had three MRI’s this year with bad news on all three of them.”
The Jets finished with 40 wins and their 87 points is the second most since they returned to Winnipeg. But there’s still a lot of questions surrounding their goaltending and giving up the fourth most goals in the league is why they’ll be watching the playoffs on television.
“I think if we can get some saves too, I think that was kind of a struggle for us.” said Perreault. “So there’s no team making the playoffs that isn’t getting saves.”
“I think I can be more consistent and I think I can be better.” said Connor Hellebuyck. “I’m going to say that for the rest of my career. I think I can be better every single game.”
“At the end of the day if they bring in competition, I’m going to work, and I’m going to work hard.”
The Jets have only three unrestricted free agents with Ondrej Pavelec, Chris Thorburn, and Paul Postma set to hit the open market. While the Jets would probably like to hammer out a long term extension with Jacob Trouba, the blueliner didn’t sound like a player who is in a rush to get a new contract.
“It’s not a super pressing issue I think.” Trouba said. “I still got to play out next year and see where it goes.”
Trouba was then asked if he’d like to stay in Winnipeg.
“That’s something I’ll talk to Kurt (Overhardt) about, but I enjoy playing for that team and the teammates we have in that room.” said Trouba. “I have no problem with Winnipeg. I made that pretty clear.”
What is clear, is the Jets future looks bright with young players like Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele only to improve with age.
“You got to come back with a sour taste in your mouth after not making the playoffs.” Scheifele said.
“I think we got some real good stuff ahead.” said Little.