Poolers: News from the infirmary

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Almost two months after entering the wounded list, Nikolaj Ehlers He’s back in action in Friday’s game between the Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars. A return to the highly anticipated game in Winnipeg.

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Ehlers, who has not played since January 18 due to a knee injury, assisted the Dallas Stars in their 4-3 defeat in overtime. He was used on the third line along with Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry to help him get back in shape. The second power went to 16:04, including 2:43 on the playback unit.

Ehlers’ loss has hurt the Jets, who have had their ups and downs this season. In his absence, the Manitoba team set a record of 7-9-3, which gave them their 22nd point percentage in the League (.447). While their performance is unforgiving, the fight is the most competitive for the final two places in the Western Conference, gaining playoff access. With 58 points, the Jets are seven points behind the Dallas Stars and their fourth ace in second place.

Having collected 25 points in 34 games this season before the injury, Ehlers collected 46 points in 47 games and averaged 0.74 points per game, up from 0.98 the previous season.

Will the Jets’ recent challenges prompt them to offer more offensive responsibilities to the Ehlers, who has always had to thrive in the shadow of the world? Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor?

Prior to his injury, the Danish forward was the Jets’ least-used player in the top 6 and very rarely qualified for the first power play unit. None of his 13 goals came in power play, and only three of his 25 points came in a five-man offense.

It was previously said that Ehlers’ stats this season have dropped from last year, but the drop in production is partly explained by his shooting percentage of 9.3 percent, which was the worst of his career since his rookie year in 2015-16. . By comparison, last year was a career-best 14.2 and hasn’t dropped below 12.3 since 2017-18.

Video: C[email protected]: Stastny joins Ehlers in closing the gap

Therefore, we can expect Ehlers to finish the current season once he returns to form and the Jets would benefit from using him more.

This season, Ehlers has a 5.6 field goal percentage compared to his other teammates, placing first in his team and 29th in the NHL among forwards who have played at least 20 games. Despite having less playing time in the first two lines than his teammates, he is the most offensive player at five-on-five for the Jets. His absence was greatly felt as the Jets saw their five-on-five goals average 1.91 per game (17th in the NHL).

So poolers are right to wonder why Ehlers isn’t being used more. He has also been the club’s most prolific player since 2019-20, averaging 2.42 points per 60 minutes played (minimum 50 games) five-on-five. He is ranked 28th in the NHL for the same period.

The arrival of Dave Lowry on the bench on December 17, 2021 did not make it possible to find solutions to revive the team. The Jets are sorely lacking in offense and only two things can save them: the goalie outfit. Connor Hellebuyck and the power play that retained a 25 percent savings percentage in Ehlers’ absence. If either of these two elements doesn’t work, it stinks of defeat.

Could one solution be to use more Ehler? Pool players will have to keep this situation under scrutiny. If he’s finally qualified to play for a period of time commensurate with what they can bring offensively, the forward could quickly gain in value and become a prime target in daily pools due to the currently low cost of ownership, and also a target for annual poolers looking to get one. The player until the deadline for processing is 21 March.

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