The Winnipeg Jets can pull plenty of positives from this season, the largest being an improvement from 11th to ninth in the Eastern Conference despite enduring the absurd travel of a Southeast Division team — a “Southeast” team that travels about 3,600 km to one of its division opponents.
There’s also the pride of the team, captain Andrew Ladd, putting forth a career-best year as he led the team with 46 points in a lockout-shortened season. However, Ladd took little solace in his great year, sitting just one rank too low for entry into the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I’m pleased it’s gone pretty well,” Ladd told the Winnipeg Free Press, “but at the end of the day if we’re not in the playoffs it’s irrelevant to me and it’s still a disappointing season.”
Outside of the fact that they outpaced the Jets to win the Southeast Division and earn the group’s only playoff berth, the Washington Capitals really stood as the wall between Winnipeg and the postseason. This pesky squad was down in the dumps while Winnipeg topped the division, but would drag the Jets down while Alexander Ovechkin and Co. climbed their way up.
The two teams’ meetings since March featured Caps wins of 3-0, 4-0, 6-1 and 5-3. Winnipeg trailed Washington by six points for the division and four points for an eighth-seed, so the Jets could’ve certainly used those eight points. On the bright side, the spring of 2013 did see NHL governors approve Winnipeg’s rightful move to the Western Conference, so there’s that.