Top 10 Best Winnipeg Jets Players of All Time

Top 10 Best Winnipeg Jets Players of All Time

The original Winnipeg Jets were founded in 1972 but later became the modern-day Arizona Coyotes. The current Jets team started as the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999, and the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011. Many good players have served this version of the team. With that said, who are some of the best players in the history of the modern Winnipeg Jets?

Who Are the Best Winnipeg Jets Hockey Players of All Time?

  1. Connor Hellebuyck
  2. Blake Wheeler
  3. Ilya Kovalchuk
  4. Mark Scheifele
  5. Dustin Byfuglien
  6. Ondřej Pavelec
  7. Bryan Little
  8. Toby Enström
  9. Kyle Connor
  10. Nikolaj Ehlers

1. Connor Hellebuyck

  • 2019-2020 Vezina Trophy winner
  • Most wins in Jets history
  • Best save percentage in Jets history

Connor Hellebuyck was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL draft by the Winnipeg Jets. The Vezina winner has the most point shares in Winnipeg’s history with 87.0. The goalie made his debut for the Jets in 2015-16, where he had a .918 save percentage in 26 games. By his third season, Hellebuyck led the NHL with 44 wins in 67 games. The 24-year-old also had a career-high .924 save percentage as he finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting as the Jets made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history. Hellebuyck finished with 34 wins in the following season as well.

The goalie won the Vezina Trophy in 2019-20, as he put up 31 wins and a .922 save percentage in 58 games. Hellebuyck is still the starting goalie for Winnipeg and will be a free agent after the 2023-24 season. Hellebuyck leads the Jets with 238 wins, a .916 save percentage, 87 goals saved above average, and 445 games started in the net.

2. Blake Wheeler

  • Most points in Jets history
  • Most assists in Jets history
  • Most shots in Jets history

Blake Wheeler was originally selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins. The right winger played in parts of three seasons with the Bruins before being traded to the Thrashers at the 2011 trade deadline. Wheeler has the most point shares by a skater in Winnipeg’s history with 85.1. In his first full season with the Jets, Wheeler totaled 64 points, which was the most he had put up in a season prior to the 2011-12 campaign.

The Minnesota native scored 41 points in the lockout-shortened season the year after. Wheeler then totaled 60 or more points in the next seven consecutive seasons. The winger had a career-high 28 goals in 2013-14 and led the NHL with 68 assists in 2017-18. Wheeler tallied a career-high 91 points that season and finished eighth in Hart Trophy voting. The winger is still with the team and is the franchise leader with 897 games played, 550 assists, 812 points, and 2,462 shots. Wheeler was the captain of the Jets for six seasons as well. 

3. Ilya Kovalchuk

  • 2003-2004 Richard Trophy winner
  • Most goals in Jets history
  • 2001-02 All-Rookie

Ilya Kovalchuk was taken with the first overall pick of the 2001 NHL draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. The left winger played in parts of eight seasons with the franchise and accumulated 74.5 point shares. Kovalchuk started his NHL career strong by scoring 29 goals and 22 assists on the way to a second-place finish in the Calder Trophy voting. He increased his point total to 67 in his second season before leading the league with 41 goals in 2003-04. Kovalchuk had more shots than any other player that season as well.

The winger posted a career-high 98 points in 2005-06, as well as leading the NHL with 27 power-play goals. The Russian tied his career-high with 52 goals in 2007-08, finishing with 87 points in that campaign. Kovalchuk scored 91 points for the Jets in the following season as his last full year with the team. The winger was traded to the Devils in 2010. Kovalchuk has the most goals in the franchise's history, with 328, and is in the top five of many offensive categories.

4. Mark Scheifele

  • Second-most points in Jets history
  • Second-most goals in Jets history
  • Second-most assists in Jets history

Mark Scheifele was selected seventh overall by Winnipeg in the 2011 NHL draft. The center has played all 12 of his NHL seasons with the Jets and has accumulated 72.4 point shares over that time. Scheifele began playing regular minutes with the Jets during the 2013-14 season, when he had 34 points in 63 games. He broke out two years later by scoring 29 goals on the way to a 61-point campaign. Scheifele has scored 60 or more points in each of the past eight seasons. The center had a career-high 50 assists in 2016-17. Scheifele received Hart Trophy votes in 2018-19 as he had 38 goals and 84 points, both of which are single-season bests for Scheifele.

The center has had double-digit power-play goals for the past five seasons and leads the Jets with the most in franchise history. Scheifele has 272 goals, 373 assists, and 645 points in his career for Winnipeg. Those totals are all the second-most in team history. 

5. Dustin Byfuglien

  • Most points by a defenseman in Jets history
  • Received Norris Trophy votes in six seasons
  • Five 50-plus point seasons

Dustin Byfuglien was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL draft. The defenseman was traded to the Thrashers following the 2009-10 season. Byfuglien played in nine seasons for the franchise and had 69.3 point shares during his tenure. The defenseman finished seventh in the Norris Trophy voting in his first season with the team, as he scored a career-high 20 goals and put up 53 points. Byfuglien had a career-high 41 assists in the following season as he once again had 53 points.

The defenseman had five different seasons with 50 or more points while with the Jets. The most that Byfuglien put up in that category was 56 in 2013-14. Winnipeg’s defenseman also received Norris Trophy votes in six seasons with the team. Byfuglien last played in 2018-19 for the Jets. His 416 points with the team are the most by a defenseman in franchise history and are tied for the sixth most by any skater.

6. Ondřej Pavelec

  • Second-most wins in Jets history
  • Second-most saves in Jets history
  • Five consecutive 20-plus win seasons

Ondřej Pavelec was drafted 41st overall in the 2005 NHL draft by the franchise. The goalie totaled 58.2 point shares during his ten seasons with the Jets. Pavelec made his debut in the NHL in 2007-08 but did not become a consistent starter until 2009-10. In 2010-11, the goalie had the first of five consecutive campaigns with 20 or more wins. Pavelec started 67 games the following season and had a career-high 29 wins. The goalie led the league in games played during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Pavelec posted a .920 save percentage in 50 games in 2014-15. Following the 2016-17 campaign, Pavelec signed as a free agent with the Rangers as Connor Hellebuyck became the team’s starter. Pavelec is in the top two of many goalie categories in Winnipeg’s history, including games played as a goalie, wins, saves, and shutouts.

7. Bryan Little

  • Fourth-most goals in Jets history
  • Third-most assists in Jets history
  • Fourth-most points in Jets history

Bryan Little was taken 12th overall in the 2006 NHL draft by the Thrashers. Little played his entire 13-year career with Winnipeg and had 52.6 point shares over that time. The right winger had six goals and ten assists during his rookie campaign in 2007-08. Little netted a career-high 31 goals in his sophomore season.

The winger had a few consistently average seasons before having 32 points in 48 games during the shortened 2012-13 season. Little set a career-high in assists and points the following year with 41 and 64, respectively. He had 40 or more points in each of the following five seasons as well. Little played seven games in 2019-20, marking the last time that he has seen the ice in the NHL. The lifetime Jet totaled 217 goals, 304 assists, and 521 points during his career. Little ranks third all-time in assists for the franchise and fourth in goals and points,

8. Toby Enström

  • Second-most points by a defenseman In Jets history
  • Most defensive point shares in Jets history
  • 2007-08 All-Rookie

The Thrashers selected Enström in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL draft. Toby Enström played his entire 11-year career with the organization and had 50.9 point shares. The defenseman also leads the franchise with 30.4 defensive point shares. Enström made his NHL debut in 2007-08 and scored 38 points on his way to an All-Rookie selection. The Swedish player had 50 points and a career-high 41 assists in 2010-11.

Enström built on that season and put up 51 points the following year for the Jets. The defenseman had two other seasons where he had 30 or more points. Enström last played in 2017-18, when he had six points in 43 games. Enström finished his career with 254 assists and 308 points, which place him with the second-most points and assists in the history of the Winnipeg Jets.

9. Kyle Connor

  • 2021-2022 Lady Byng Trophy Winner
  • Fifth-most points in Jets history
  • Fifth-most goals in Jets history

Kyle Connor was drafted 17th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2015 NHL draft. The left winger has played seven seasons for the franchise and has racked up 46.8 point shares. Connor made his NHL debut in 2016-17 but didn’t play a full season until the following campaign. The Jet finished fourth in the Calder Trophy Voting that season with 57 points. Connor built on his rookie year with 66 and 73 points, respectively, over the following two seasons.

The winger won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2021-22 and set career highs with 47 goals and 93 points. His 36 even-strength goals that season were the most by a player in any season in franchise history. Connor set a career-high in assists with 49 in 2022-23 as the Jet finished the season with 80 points. Connor has accumulated 209 goals, 215 assists, and 424 points while with Winnipeg. The winger is fifth in franchise history for goals and points and ninth in assists. Connor is also among the best in other offensive categories for the Jets as well.

10. Nikolaj Ehlers

  • Best plus/minus in Jets history
  • Sixth-most goals in Jets history
  • Eighth-most points in Jets history

Nikolaj Ehlers was drafted ninth overall in the 2014 NHL draft by the Winnipeg Jets. The left winger has played in eight seasons with the team and has 46.2 point shares over that time. The Danish player scored 38 points in his rookie campaign, but he followed that up by putting up a career-high 39 assists and 64 points. Ehlers had 29 goals and 60 points in 2017-18 as well.

The winger has scored 35 or more points in every season that he has played. Ehlers leads the franchise in plus/minus and has been on the ice for more goals for than allowed in every season but 2022-23. Ehlers has 176 goals, 220 assists, and 396 points during his tenure with the Jets. He is sixth all-time in goals and eighth all-time in assists and points for Winnipeg.

Honorable Mentions

  • Zach Bogosian
  • Marian Hossa
  • Evander Kane
  • Vyacheslav Kozlov
  • Andrew Ladd
  • Patrick Laine
  • Josh Morrissey
  • Tyler Myers
  • Marc Savard
  • Jacob Trouba

FAQ

Who is the best Winnipeg Jets goalie of all time?

Connor Hellebuyck is the best Winnipeg Jets goalie of all time, as he has the highest point shares of any goalie in the franchise's history. The goalie has three top-three Vezina trophy-voting finishes, and he won the award in 2019-20. Hellebuyck leads the Jets with 445 games played in net, 238 wins, a .916 save percentage, and 32 shutouts. Hellebuyck has been with Winnepig for eight seasons.

Who is the best Winnipeg Jets forward of all time?

Blake Wheeler is the best Winnipeg Jets forward of all time, as he has the highest point shares of any forward in the franchise's history. The right winger has played 13 seasons with the franchise and has played in the most games in the team’s history. Wheeler’s 262 goals rank third all-time for the Jets. The six-year captain also leads the franchise with 550 assists, 812 points, and 2,462 shots.

Who is the best Winnipeg Jets defenseman of all time?

Dustin Byfuglien is the best Winnipeg Jets defenseman of all time, as he has the highest point shares in the franchise's history. Byfuglien played nine seasons with the franchise, and he received Norris Trophy votes in six of those campaigns. The defenseman’s 122 goals, 294 assists, and 416 total points lead all defensemen in the history of the Jets. Byfuglien has also played the second-most games by any defenseman for Winnipeg.