by Brandt Corbin
I’m not to sure why, but when doing research for the worst Winnipeg Jets trades I started to realize the team when in Winnipeg had some incredible defenseman mainly from the offensive standpoint. Since 1981-82 the team only went four season 85-86, 86-87, 93-94 & 94-95, without having a defenseman with 50 points or more.
Now in the 80’s was it an offensive era, very much so but you cannot take anything away from the numbers. Two long-time Jets players Dave Babych and Fredrik Olausson had 50 or more points four times during their tenure. Phil Housley without question put together the three most impressive years for a Jets defenseman. Housley in 232 games he scored 64 goals and 259 points, those numbers will be hard to match by any future re-guard. Along with the three previously named players, Moe Mantha (1), Teppo Numminen (1) Mario Marious (1), Dave Ellett (2), and Randy Caryle (2) all accumulated 50 or more points during those years.
The only problem for the team during 80’s and 90’s was the lack of depth on the backend. While they had an offensive number one defenseman they often did not have a second or a third to complement them, this lead to teams punishing the one putting up the points.
Tradition to continue
This past season, only nine defenseman had 50 or more points. The good news for Winnipeg hockey fans is you’ve got two of those players. Dustin Byfuglien was fourth in the NHL (de-man) with 53 points ranking first with 20 goals. Tobias Enstrom for the second season in a row, had 50 or more points. The advantage for the new team in Winnipeg is the depth on the back end is much stronger than it maybe ever was during the 80’s and 90’s. Three through six is going to be Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya, Zach Boogasian and Mark Stuart, a good mixture stay at home and puck moving defenseman.