Thursday, September 28, 2017
Winnipeg Jets 2017-18 season preview
Despite an impressive rookie campaign by Patrik Laine, the Winnipeg Jets missed the playoffs in 2016-17 with 87 points. They made a goalie change, bringing in Steve Mason and losing Ondrej Pavelec. Here's a look at their offseason.
Notable additions: G Steve Mason, D Dmitry Kulikov, F Matt Hendricks.
Notable subtractions: G Ondrej Pavelec, D Paul Postma, F Chris Thorburn, D Mark Stuart, D Brian Strait.
Here are my projected forward lines.
Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Kyle Connor - Andrew Copp - Marko Dano
Nic Petan - Shawn Matthias - Joel Armia
Scheifele emerged as a top 10 center in the league last year with 32 goals and 82 points. Him and Laine are a force to be reckoned with for the Jets. Wheeler is a top line player, but I put him on the second line since Laine's line is clearly better. Connor played in just 20 games last year, regaining his rookie status. The former 17th overall pick can have a solid rookie season. Petan is still just 22, but he's scored just three goals in 80 career games. He needs to step it up, or he could be out of Winnipeg before you could even say Winnipeg. Matt Hendricks is the extra forward.
Here are my projected defensive pairs.
Josh Morrissey - Dustin Byfuglien
Dmitry Kulikov - Tyler Myers
Toby Enstrom - Jacob Trouba
Morissey played in 82 games last year in his rookie campaign. Byfuglien (Buf-lin) is a very physical d-man players look out for. Kulikov's horrible last season in Buffalo could've been a fluke. We'll see soon. Trouba played after a trade request this season. I think things are still a little rough from both sides, but Trouba shouldn't be traded yet. Ben Chiarot is the extra defenseman.
Mason was a good addition this offseason. This year's a big make-or-break year for Hellebuyck. Michael Hutchinson is the third goalie if needed.
I think the Jets are a solid team. But, in a very competitive Central division (besides the Avalanche), I predict they will miss the playoffs in 2017-18.