CALGARY, AB -- By no means have the Winnipeg Jets lived up to expectations in the 2013-14 NHL season.
The Jets, who have compiled a disappointing 20-23-5 record this season, sit 12th in the Western Conference, well back of any playoff aspirations. Winnipeg’s lack of success this year forced the removal of coach Claude Noel, who was replaced with Paul Maurice four days ago.
The Jets will play just their second game under Maurice when Winnipeg takes on the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
This Season: 20-23-5, 45 points (12th in West)
Last Season: 24-21-3, 51 points (9th in East)
Notable Injuries: Jim Slater (hernia), Matt Halischuk (forearm), Paul Postma (blood clot) and Grant Clitsome (illness) are on injured reserve. Forward Evander Kane (hand) will not travel to Calgary.
Flames Season Series Record: 1-0-0
Byfuglien, who has a share of the Jets scoring lead with 37 points, is currently riding a three-game point-scoring streak. The 28-year-old has collected four assists and five points in that span and has three goals and eight points in his past six contests. Byfuglien also leads Winnipeg in average ice time at 25:45.
Ladd’s production has taken a dip of late. The Jets captain has just one assist in his past six games but prior to the slump, he recorded points in four straight and five of his last six games. Overall, the former Calgary Hitmen forward has 10 goals and 30 points in 48 games this season.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
After a slow start to his season, the 20-year-old Scheifele has started to hit his stride. The seventh overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft had just five points in his first 24 games to start the year. In his past 24, Scheifele has amassed 19 points.
Little shares the team lead in points with Byfuglien while pacing all Jets players with 15 goals this season. The former first round pick has been inconsistent of late, though. He has points in two straight and three of his past four games, but Little has had droughts of three and four games without getting on the score sheet in the past month, too.
Trouba has been impressive as a rookie defenceman for the Jets. The 19-year-old has four goals and 13 points this season despite missing 17 games this season. The ninth overall pick in 2012 is just one season removed from a standout year with the University of Michigan, his only season of college hockey.