Using the term “close sweep” might start a brawl at the wrong Winnipeg bar, yet it feels like a reasonable depiction of the Jets’ first-round exit.
Whether you agree or disagree about their margin of defeat against the Anaheim Ducks, the bottom line is that if you trace the Jets’ history back to the Thrashers era, the franchise remains at zero playoff wins all-time.
Yes, as in they haven’t ever won a playoff game not a series.
Despite that doom and gloom, Jets were a popular dark horse candidate heading into the 2015 postseason for a reason. They were an impressive possession team by most metrics.
Winnipeg combined an increasingly deep defense corps with its underrated high-end forwards to scare at least a few Western Conference observers. Hey, they even occasionally received competent goaltending, albeit from an uneven mix of Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec.
(There was some poetic justice in Pavelec playing out of his mind down the stretch to get them into the playoffs.)
It all feels empty thanks to the sweep, but the Jets zoomed up a level or two in 2014-15. As wild card berths go, Winnipeg can point to some positives.
The biggest change technically happened during the season, yet the Evander Kane swap is significant enough to at least get a quick mention.
It’s relevant enough to the summer anyway, as Drew Stafford played well enough to gain a two-year deal that carries a $4.35 million cap hit. Stafford is sticking around, while a surprise return is in store for Alex Burmistrov, who went on a two-year KHL sojourn.
Michael Frolik headlines a group of departing players who helped move the needle a bit depth-wise, also including Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty and T.J. Galiardi.
Maybe the most significant off-season storyline is what Winnipeg did not do: Dustin Byfuglien and captain Andrew Ladd are currently entering the final season of their respective contracts.