Injuries can plague a player's success throughout a season, which was the case for Nikolaj Ehlers in 2022-23.
The veteran left-winger of the Winnipeg Jets posted a career-low in goals with 12, also finishing the regular season with 38 points, which stands as the second-lowest point total of Ehlers career. 2022-23 was the first time the 27-year-old finished with under 15 goals and his point total matched that of his rookie season.
However, simply looking at the point total for Ehlers doesn’t tell the entire story of his 2022-23 campaign. It was an injury-riddled season for the Danish forward, who played in just 45 regular season games, the lowest total of his entire NHL career.
Ehlers still managed to average 0.84 points per game last year, which wasn’t very far off his 0.88 points per game the year prior, in 2021-22. Considering the injuries he sustained and the time missed, this production is still valuable and what makes it more impressive as he’s never played fewer total minutes in an NHL season throughout his career.
Over eight years in Winnipeg, Ehlers has been one of the most consistent offensive producers for the Jets, totaling 176 goals with 396 points in 523 career games. The Denmark-born forward has potted 25 or more goals in four of those eight years, only failing to score more than 20 goals twice.
His ability to find open ice, paired with an exceptional shot makes Ehlers a lethal scoring from all areas of the offensive zone. He’s also a strong skater who has a high hockey IQ as a veteran goal-scorer at professional hockey’s highest level.
Throughout his eight years in the NHL, Ehlers has only played a full 82-game regular season twice. This statistic should be seen as a slight concern, however, he’s only played in less than 60 games twice, headed into his ninth season in Winnipeg. The good thing for the Jets is that the 27-year-old is still in the prime of his career, and is under contract through the 2024-25 campaign.
Barring a significant injury or setback in the upcoming 2023-24 season, Ehlers should once again be at the forefront of Winnipeg’s offensive production. If he can stay healthy, he should post at least 20 goals with 50-plus points... anything less than that from Ehlers would be considered a letdown.