Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Winnipeg Jets.
Solid, yet unspectacular.
That’s the way you could describe how just about everything the Jets have done over the past year. They finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the upstart Islanders. The brilliant parts of their team (Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd) are often overshadowed by who struggles (team defense, goaltending, coaching?).
The Jets are a team with hope and with reasons to be optimistic about their future, but many questions remain. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff tried to address some of those issues this summer, but mostly got caught up in retaining his own players.
It’s not quite a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of thing, but in a new division with new rivals they have to hope treading water is OK.
The Jets managed to spend quite a bit of money this summer, just not in what was an unspectacular free agent crop. They carved out big deals to restricted free agents Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, and Bryan Little. With all the money spent there, the generally frugal Jets are now amongst the league’s biggest spenders.
Who they were able to add to the team they did so through trades. They acquired Michael Frolik from Chicago and Devin Setoguchi from Minnesota for just mid-round draft picks. Meanwhile, young forward Alex Burmistrov packed up his things and headed to the KHL after apparently having issues with coach Claude Noel.
Prospect forwards Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry will each get their chance to show they can be full-time NHL players this year and it would do Winnipeg a world of good to see them make the leap.
Rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba could wind up being a Calder candidate this season. Meanwhile, questions still remain as to how good (or not) goalie Ondrej Pavelec can be.
It could be one of those seasons for the Jets, they just have to hope they can hang with the likes of Chicago, St. Louis, and Minnesota instead of Tampa Bay, Florida, and Carolina. Gulp?