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Winnipeg Jets’ First-Half MVP is Evander Kane: Fan’s Take
Seriously, Pavelec (15-13-5, 2.88 goals against average) deserves props. The guy has stolen more than a few wins for the Jets this season, who stand at 20-16-5, second in the Southeast division and one point out of a playoff spot as of Tuesday, January 10. Winnipeg's workhorse goalie has won five games this season in which the team has scored two or fewer goals. However, Chris Mason (5-3-0, 2.23 GAA) has been a solid replacement when Pavelec needs a break or is off his game. Nobody can replace Kane.
Ranked No. 17 in the National Hockey League in offense, the Jets struggle at times to score goals, but Kane makes it look easy when he's on his game. With a team-leading 18 goals (one off his career high set last season) and 13 assists, the Jets' winger has fueled the team so far this season. He has opened the scoring in seven games (most in the league) and has three game-winners, including an overtime marker to crown the Kings, 1-0, on December 29. More recently, he assisted on Johnny Oduya's OT tally on Jan. 7 to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1. What more do you need to know? Let me tell you.
Big and bold, you can see the 21-year-old Kane coming into his own. A former first-round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers, he has all the skills to be a star: fluid skates, good hands, a feel for the moment. He has 15 goals and eight assists in the team's 15 wins this season. In other words, when Kane plays well, the team plays well. By producing, he leads by example, makes players around him better.
In many ways, Kane is the team's identity—young, full of potential, very likeable. All those qualities make him special. But what's in box score makes him most valuable.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. Follow Adam and the Jets on Twitter: @PegCitySports.
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