In a season of surprises, from success in Vegas to disasters in Ottawa and Edmonton, we bring you the Winnipeg Jets — Canada’s best National Hockey League team. That’s right. The patient, draft-and-develop, trade-averse Jets have finally arrived. They’re big, deep, and fast with goaltending, an excellent defence, and talent up front that for the most part is only going to mature and improve. The Jets are in first place in the Central, despite the fact Mark Scheifele — their best player, though Blake Wheeler fans may argue — has been on injured reserve since Dec. 27. He could be out another month. So it’s up to the captain Wheeler, having a career year at age 31, a fast-maturing Patrik Laine, and a focused Jacob Trouba to get this club to the finish line. Along with the rest of a lineup that is way deeper than most of us gave the Jets credit for when we were making our pre-season predictions. What is suddenly making head coach Paul Maurice so smart, after many folks questioned why he got a new three-year deal heading into the season? The talent at his disposal, that’s what. He’s never had horses like this — plus a goalie. Here are a few thoughts on what’s going right in Manitoba this winter, and why we’ll be there this spring for only the second time since the Jets’ return.
How the Winnipeg Jets have become Canada’s best NHL team
Sportsnet | Jan 17