From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
37-35-10, 84 points. 11th in Eastern Conference, fourth in Southeast Division.
Olli Jokinen, Al Montoya, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Mark Dekanich
Chris Mason, Eric Fehr, Brett Festerling, Mark Flood, Arturs Kulda and Tim Stapleton
9th overall – Jacob Trouba (D – U.S. NTDP – USHL)
To some, the 2011-12 season was one long victory lap for Winnipeg; the former Atlanta Thrashers’ on-ice exploits were just gravy.
Those who wanted some substance to go along with the new team sizzle received a mix bag of results, though. The NHL’s schedule makers eased Winnipeg into the Southeast Division as well as one could hope, but the Jets mostly rose and fell based on home stands vs. road trips.
If that’s too cold an explanation, one might instead gravitate toward a still-young, low-budget team that continues to go through a maturation process.
The Jets spent big on one of their most important free agent decisions by handing hot-and-cold goalie Ondrej Pavelec a hefty new deal. They still need to re-sign restricted free agent/face of the franchise Evander Kane, however.
Much like last summer, the Jets are determined to improve from within – for the most part.
They did add two value players who have been polarizing during their careers. Olli Jokinen is the headliner (and potential No. 1 scorer after doing so in Calgary) while Alexei Ponikarovsky’s a solid bargain at $1.8 million.
Most of the team’s alterations came at depth positions, although they made an intriguing move by replacing veteran backup Chris Mason with younger goalie Al Montoya.
Overall, Winnipeg seems primed to settle for steady progression, but you never know when young players might make a leap.
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