September 7, 2013 by Cups n Pucks
Cups & Pucks Contributor
The Winnipeg Jets moved from Atlanta two seasons ago and its hard to argue that they have no where to go but up. The team sells out every game and the place is rockin’ every night. They have a decent line up and the core is locked up for many years to come. There are a few questions surrounding this team, particularly in goal and the lack of offense. The Winnipeg Jets land the #24 spot on Cups & Pucks NHL Season Countdown.
The Jets made a few moves over the off season that should improve their team greatly. However, there were a few key departures. That includes Nik Antropov, Alexander Burmistrov, Antti Miettinen, Aaron Gagnon, Derek Meech. It will be tough to replace the loss of Alexander Burmistrov, as he was only 21 and developing into a good center. The Jets strengthened their squad by adding Devin Setoguchi, Michael Frolik, Andrew Gordon, Matt Halischuk, and Adam Pardy. The addition of Frolik will most certainly improve the Jets penalty kill which was ranked 24th last season. Setoguchi should add some much needed scoring up front, despite his recent struggles the past two seasons scoring a combined 32 goals in 117 games. If he can right the ship this will be a key add to the Jets offense. Adam Pardy will also add some depth on defense, as he is a steady 5-7 defenseman.
The jets averaged 2.62 goals a game last year and with this offensive unit, expect that number to be raised. The team will look to Andrew Ladd to continue his point scoring pace of last season and for Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler to improve their goal totals from last season. The second line looks to be stronger than last years, with the key addition of Devin Setoguchi, he will add a much needed presence on that second line. Evander Kane has been improving and for the Jets to make a playoff run he will need to add to his numbers and improve his +/- rating. The third line could be one of the best in the league next season with the addition of Michael Frolik. Frolik will help out on the defensive end and should in turn improve Olli Jokinen’s play. Matt Halischuk is another addition that should play on the third line, and like Frolik, be very responsible in the defensive end.
There are no big changes to the Jets line up when it comes to Defensemen position. All of the main components are back this season. Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian are looking to be the teams top pair with Grant Clitsome and Mark Stuart fighiting for the second line spot with Dustin Byfuglien. One key addition could be Jacob Trouba, the Jets 2012 first round selection. His powerful shot and big physical play would be a welcomed addition to the lineup. Overall the Jets Defense looks to be strong and in tact. They must improve on the 2.94 goals against average of last season for this Jets team to go anywhere.
In the two seasons as the Winnepeg Jets franchise, goaltending has floated around the middle of the pack. This season is a time for Ondrej Pavelec to prove that he is the real deal. His career numbers are less then stellar, with .907 save percentage and a 2.95 goals against average. Pavelec will need to play the way he did in 2008 with the Chicago Wolves, where he played very well and lead the Wolves to the 2008 Calder Cup Championship. The back up, Al Montoya, has similar career numbers to Pavelec. He will be looked upon to only play about 10-15 games, as Pavelec will be a workhorse this season.
This season has the potential to be a very exciting one for Jets fans. If things fall into the right places they could make a run at the playoffs. This team is relying on the its core group to improve from last season and whether or not that happens remains to be seen. Keep an eye out for this team as they could surprise quite a few people this season.