In many ways, the 2015-16 season was a typical one for the Winnipeg Jets.
They still remain without a single playoff win, and that big zero persists from their Atlanta Thrashers days. For the fourth time in their five years in Winnipeg, they failed to make the playoffs.
Sticking to type, they’re mostly depending upon improvement from within rather than splashy moves. Paul Maurice is still their head coach and Kevin Cheveldayoff remains GM.
Heading into next season, expectations are modest.
As gradual as the changes tend to be for this patiently built franchise, Winnipeg’s identity is starting to morph.
Captain Andrew Ladd was traded away in a courageous deadline move while Dustin Byfuglien signed a long-term deal. There’s little sense denying the Jets’ core at this point, as Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault look primed to be fixtures for the Jets.
Scheifele is one of the leaders of a youth movement that the Jets hope will propel them to that next level.
Grabbing promising scoring prospect Patrik Laine represents one of the team’s most exciting moments in some time while a brighter future is on the horizon in net with Michael Hutchinson re-upping while Connor Hellebuyck continues to mature.
(Mercifully, Ondrej Pavelec is in the last season of his regrettable deal.)
The only bummer could very well be resolved soon: what will it take to find a compromise with defenseman Jacob Trouba?
With a name like the Jets, you wouldn’t picture the slow-and-steady approach, but that’s the gameplan. Perhaps a more meteoric rise is on the way?