In the center of Canada is an established hockey city by the name of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Winnipeg Jets were the most captivating Canadian NHL team to watch throughout the 2014-15 season. From their lows to their highs, the Jets found a way to show that their roster is a tough team to play against when injured, and even tougher when healthy.
The Jets played only four games in the quarterfinals, with the Anaheim Ducks sweeping the injury-riddled team that couldn’t hold on to their lead when heading into the third period (games 1-3). The problem wasn’t goaltending. It had become team defence.
How could such a balanced team offensively and defensively get scored on the way they were by the potent Anaheim Ducks? Why couldn’t they win just one game? What has the team done to be a greater threat in the 2015-16 season?
How have the Jets tweaked their lineup during the 2015 summer?
Notable Subtractions: Notable Additions:
Michal Frolik, Eric O’Dell Andrew MacWilliam, Matt Fraser, Alex Burmistrov
By losing a second/third line left-winger in Michael Frolik, Winnipeg loses a 27-year old that is currently in his prime. After two consecutive 42-point seasons (34 G, 50 A), Frolik signed a 5-year, $21.5M contract with the Calgary Flames.
Who will be Frolik’s replacement? It is possible that the combined effort of both Alex Burmistrov and Matt Fraser will take on the responsibility. Having a possible third line of Adam Lowry-Alex Burmistrov-Matt Fraser proposes a scoring line that has a layer of sandpaper that makes the line hard to play against.
Which prospects might find a spot on the roster throughout the 2015-16 season?
Nikolaj Ehlers and Nicolas Petan will both see some ice time with the big club, and see a major role with the Jets’ affiliate Manitoba Moose. The same goes for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who will be the star goaltender that Winnipeg has sought for so many years.
He plays like Niklas Kronwall. He could be as reliable as Duncan Keith. Upon being drafted by the Jets in 2013 he was said to take two years to play in the NHL. Now, he just might be ready. Josh Morrissey is a superb two-way defenceman that will be a reliable force in years to come.
The Jets already have a deep pool of defencemen, and Josh Morrissey will only better the team in the 2015-16 season. At only 20 years young, Morrissey scored 38 points in only 47 junior games throughout the 2014-15 season. Morrissey likely won’t put up the same offensive numbers next season, but could play on the second/third line of defence with either Tyler Myers or Jacob Trouba. He likely won’t play in all 82 games, but he could very well play more than half the season.
How will the Jets fair in the 2015-16 season?
The Winnipeg Jets will be a dynamic force. They will (hopefully) have a strong goaltending duo in Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. Defence will be a strength, and so will offence. At the helm of his second consecutive full season, Paul Maurice will be preaching consistency at all facets of the game. Strong outings against each team, putting forth a 110% effort. Clinching a playoff spot is expected. How far will they reach? Only time will tell…
Expect the Jets to be more competitive. Expect Jets fans to be louder.