Friday, September 27, 2013

Meet The Central Division: Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets
Head Coach: Claude Noel (3rd Season in WPG)
Arena: MTS Centre (Capacity: 15,004)
2012-13 Record: 24-21-3 (2nd in Southeast Division)
Record vs MIN in '12-13: Did Not Play
Leading Scorer: Andrew Ladd-46 points (18 G, 28 A)
Leading Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec-44 G, 21-20-3, 2.80 GAA, .905 SV%

2012-13 Recap: In perhaps one of the weakest divisions in the history of the NHL, the Jets were a bubble playoff team who got turned away again last year. The Jets were in contention to win the weak Southeast, until Washington finally turned it on and blew everyone away. Winnipeg was in the mix for the eight seed in the East until the final week of the season, missing out by just four points to the New York Islanders. 

Offseason Additions-RW Devin Setoguchi, RW Michael Frolik, RW Andrew Gordon, RW Matt Halischuk, D Adam Pardy: Fans in Winnipeg were waiting around on July 1st for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to make a move. After about eight hours of nothing, the Jets finally made a move and traded the teams second round pick in 2014 to Minnesota for Setoguchi (Chuck Fletcher=Genius). It was the highlight move from Winnipeg this offseason. Setoguchi slots to play on the first or second line (has been playing on line one in the preseason), and is considered an "offensive upgrade". Well, unless Matt Cullen finds his way into a Jets uniform, that move is not a great upgrade (although, it is for the Jets because its well...the Jets).

Offseason Subtractions-C Nik Antropov, C Alexander Burmistrov, LW Antti Miettinen, C Aaron Gagnon, D Derek Meech: Alexander Burmistrov decided that he would rather play in the KHL than Winnipeg, leaving the NHL as he was an RFA this summer. Nik Antropov also bolted for the KHL, but that could probably be blamed on the fact no one wanted to sign him. Antti Miettinen is gone for now, but if the Jets have scoring issues this winter they may give him a call for the third consecutive year. 

Top Prospects: To be fair here, the Jets to have some nice prospects coming up through their system. Jacob Trouba (who the Wild passed up to draft Matt Dumba in 2012) is a good up and coming all around defenseman who projects to make the opening night roster for Winnipeg. He notched 29 points in 37 games for the University of Michigan last year and will get a good look this year on the Jets blueline. Mark Scheifele was a 2011 first round pick, and he too should be on the opening night roster. Last year, the Jets had him up for nine games before sending him back to the OHL, but they either scratched him or had him center the fourth line (sounds like Nino Niederreiter and the New York Islanders). Barring any setbacks, he should be at least a third line center for Winnipeg this year.

Projected Lines:

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Devin Setoguchi
Matt Halischuk-Olli Jokinen-Michael Frolik
Eric Tangradi-Jim Slater-James Wright

Tobias Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart-Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec
Al Montoya

(Projected lines courtesy of

Scouting Report: Its not too terribly hard to figure out how to beat the Jets. The team can hustle when they are on offense, but they kind of slack off when they are on defense. When in the defensive zone, Jets defenseman often are found to be flat footed, while watching their forwards give little effort to try and get the puck away. Teams that have good puck possession skills, will have much success against the Jets simply because they let you play hot potato with the puck in their own zone. But should you allow the Jets to get out of their own end, they become a very aggressive team and are relentless on the other end of the ice. They have some nice finishers, so you have to be careful with the puck and not let them get any odd man rushes. Defensively, the Jets have not been very deep in the past but if Jacob Trouba makes this team he actually gives them decent depth on the blue line. In goal, Ondrej Pavelec is one of the more streaky goaltenders in this league, and he holds a huge key to the Jets success.

Check back on Saturday to see where the Jets finish in the Central Division.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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