|Mathieu Perreault – C||Al Montoya – G|
|T.J Galiardi – LW||Olli Jokinen – C|
|Julien Brouillette – D||Devin Setoguchi – RW|
|Zach Redmond – D|
The Winnipeg Jets have been in Manitoba for three years now, but have yet to make the playoffs.
In the middle of last season the cut ties with head coach Claude Noel after a 19-23-5 start. They hired Paul Maurice, who led the team to a 18-12-5 finish which gives the Jets a small glimmer of hope heading into 2013-14.
Aside from a new coach for a full season, the Jets are largely the same team that they were last season. They only real difference is they now have Mathieu Perreault instead of Olli Jokinen and Michael Hutchinson as the backup to Ondrej Pavelec instead of Al Montoya, who is now in Florida.
Since we are on the topic, we will start with the goaltenders. Pavelec was 22-26-7 with a 3.01 goals against average and .901 save percentage, both of which were the worst numbers he has posted in the three years in Winnipeg. He has made a name for himself as one of the NHL’s most inconsistent performers. He shows flashes of brilliance and on other nights he looks like Swiss cheese. This season Hutchinson is up from the AHL to serve as his back-up, but he will have the recently acquired Peter Budaj looking over his shoulder from St. John’s (AHL).
At forward the Jets will be led by their top-6 that consists of Evander Kane–Mark Scheifele–Blake Wheeler on one line and Andrew Ladd–Bryan Little–Michael Frolik on the other. Scheifele is one of my favourite sleepers heading into the season. He reportedly did not take a single day off this Summer and is in the best shape of his life. The 21-year-old had 13 goals and 21 assists (34 points) in 63 games last season, but should see a huge spike in those numbers players with two high-scoring forwards in Kane and Wheeler. Kane has had his issues and there is no guarantee he will finish the year in Winnipeg, but he can fly and score and will help your fantasy team as he tries to get back to 30 goals. Wheeler is coming off of a career-year and will also be looking for a 30-goal campaign. Little is the teams best playmaker and Ladd will contribute in every fantasy category. Dustin Byfuglien is expected to play a full season at forward, which makes him a great fantasy commodity if he is D-eligible in your league. Even if he is only a right winger, he should be a 20-30 player again and deserves to be rostered.
On the back-end Tobias Entrom is their consistent offensive threat, having posted anywhere between 30-50 points in each of his 82-game regular seasons. That does not really sound consistent, but he is drafted as a 30-point player with 50-point potential so he is worth investing in. Zach Bogosian had a nice mini-breakout year in 2011-12, but has been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons and should start as a free agent, but warrants your attention. Jacob Trouba is the real deal on the Jets blueline. He was limited to 65 games because of a neck injury in his rookie season, but still scored 10 goals with 19 assists (29 points). He should take a big step forward this season and should finish between 35-40 points.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Jets’ Fantasy Players)
- Dustin Byfuglien – D/RW
- Blake Wheeler – RW
- Evander Kane – LW
- Andrew Ladd – LW
- Bryan Little – C
- Mark Scheifele – C
- Ondrej Pavelec – G
- Jacob Trouba – D
- Tobias Enstrom – D
- Michael Frolik – RW
Click HERE for the Jets’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: Winnipeg will finish last in the difficult Central Division.
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