The Blackhawks are in Winnipeg this afternoon for a fun matinee start against the Jets. It’s the first meeting between these division foes (I won’t say rivals because… well, frankly I haven’t cared about the Jets since they moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg 11 years ago).
Everyone always makes a big deal about Jonathan Toews going to play at the Jets because he’s from Winnipeg. And Toews has a nice career stat line against the Jets franchise.
But Patrick Kane owns the Jets.
Since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated and rebranded as the Jets before the 2011-12 season, four players in the NHL have produced 20 points against the franchise in Winnipeg:
- Connor McDavid (31 points in 14 games)
- Tyler Seguin (27 points in 19 games)
- Patrick Kane (27 points in 18 games)
- Leon Draisaitl (22 points in 15 games)
Only Seguin (14) and Kane (10) have double-digits goals in Winnipeg since the move. And Kane’s 23 even-strength points in Winnipeg are five more than anyone else in the NHL (McDavid has 18).
What makes Kane’s numbers so astonishing is because they’re so much bigger than anyone else in Chicago since the 2011 relocation. Toews ranks second as a member of the Blackhawks with nine points in 17 games; Kane has three times as many points in Winnipeg as any other player for the Blackhawks over the past 11 years.
Maybe Kane tormenting the Jets is payback for the old Winnipeg Jets throwing what was then considered insane money at Bobby Hull to leave Chicago for the upstart WHA in 1972? That controversial move became one of the most significant contracts in professional hockey history. So yeah, we kinda owe them one for stealing the Hawks’ superstar scorer 50 years ago.
(As a reminder, the original Winnipeg Jets franchise — you know, the team that had Hull and, later, Teemu Selanne? — is now gallivanting as a hockey team known as the Arizona Coyotes.)
What about the Jets vs Chicago?
Three current Jets players have double-digit points against the Blackhawks when skating on their home ice, and two of them have averaged one point-per-game.
- Nikolaj Ehlers (13 points in 13 games)
- Mark Scheifele (13 points in 18 games)
- Kyle Connor (10 points in 10 games)
Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has a pretty decent track record against the Blackhawks as well. He has started ten games against the Hawks in his career and has a 6-4-0 record with a .912 save percentage and 2.61 goals against average on home ice when Chicago visits.