It’s that time of the year — to spring ahead, not fall back. The Winnipeg Jets did that this weekend with a couple of huge wins in Florida and Tampa Bay.
And that success was achieved thanks, in part, to their two newest players.
Nino Niederreiter has points in six straight games, three goals and as many assists during that modest streak.
Vlad Namestnikov has made the scoresheet in three of the five games he has played since coming over from San Jose, by way of Tampa Bay, including a two-goal, one-assist performance in Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win over the Panthers.
But aside from those offensive contributions — badly needed by a team whose goal-scoring had withered on the vine prior to their arrival — the two veteran forwards have also had a positive effect on their new linemates, while plugging the holes in the top six created by injuries to Cole Perfetti and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Niederreiter has definitely found some instant chemistry with Mark Scheifele, who has four goals and eight points since those two formed a line with Kyle Connor.
EL NINO ON THE POWER PLAY ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/rrA9Nt2qkT
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 13, 2023
And it seems more than a coincidence that Nikolaj Ehlers is starting to find his game again at the same time Namestnikov was promoted to centre the number two line with the Dashing Dane and Blake Wheeler.
Who knows if this is the kind of return GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was expecting from two trades that were initially categorized as “underwhelming.”
Six or seven games is by no means a large body of work. Time will tell.
But a strong case could be presented that, to this point, Niederreiter and Namestnikov have been as impactful for the Jets as any trade deadline acquisitions have been for other teams around the rest of the NHL.
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