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Western Conference

Jets’ Blake Wheeler Says Team Needs Better Goaltending



When a team finishes with the fourth-highest goals-against per game (3.11) and the third-worst team save percentage (.900), its pretty obvious that upgrades are needed.

The Winnipeg Jets own those dubious statistics and Blake Wheelers knows how important solid goaltending is to the future successes of the Jets.

We need better goaltending. It’s a tough business, and being a goalie is tough” Wheeler said to Matt Larkin of The Hockey News .

“By no means is this closing the door on anyone, but I think having competition back there is really important. Because if you keep putting somebody back in the net, and they’re 24 years old and maybe they’re not quite ready for it, it can be damaging to them a little bit.

And seeing someone go in there who has worked for it, who’s had success doing it, can really only help them. Having competition back there, having that hunger to get back into the net, that’s a huge thing for any team.

The ideal situation is that we have two No. 1 goalies and we ride the hot guy, and the guy who’s not playing is pissed off, and when he gets into the net, he gets hot, and they work out like that.

And if one guy grabs the job and runs with it, that’s great too. There are 31 starting goalie jobs in the entire world, so there’s an incredible amount of competition, so it’s a thankless job a lot of times.

But for us to get to where we need to go, we need to have that position solidified.”

Winnipeg relied on Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson to man the net last season and their results weren’t anything to gush over.

Hellebuyck posted 26-19-4 in 56 games with a 2.89 GAA and a .907 save percentage and his counterpart Hutchinson, went 9-12-3 with a 2.92 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Those numbers are exactly the kind that need improving and Wheeler is calling out his team to make the adjustments.

Winnipeg is hoping that that answered their issue when they signed former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason to a two-year deal.


Nashville Predators

Predators’ Pekka Rinne Activated From Injured Reserve



The Nashville Predators have activated veteran franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, has been out for around 10 days following a collision with teammate Kevin Fiala, from the injured reserve list, the team officially announced on Wednesday.

In a corresponding move, Nashville assigned Troy Grosenich to the minors.

Rinne, 35, and the team continue to negotiate a contract extension but there isn’t anything imminent regarding those talks, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.


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Jets Have “No Intention” Of Trading Tyler Myers



The Winnipeg Jets have “no interest” in trading Tyler Myers despite rumors stating that he is available via trade, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

According to the report, Winnipeg is “all-in” for this season, and will not be major sellers at the trade deadline, and will rely on their defensive corps to carry them to, what they hope will be, a deep run in the Western Conference during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers’ Zack Kassian Wants to Remain with Team



Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian had reportedly requested a trade from the team recently, in an effort to get more playing time, but is now clarifying what had happened and is stating that he prefers to stay with the team moving forward.

According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Kassian sayss that he didn’t directly ask for a trade, explaining that his agent spoke with the Oilers front office about potential interest from other teams, and Kassian has since told teammates that he wants to remain in Edmonton.

The Oilers have scratched Kassian several times this season and his playing time has dipped significantly, but he was back in the lineup on Sunday when he scored his first goal of the season in less than 10 minutes of playing time.


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