2011-12 Preview: Winnipeg Jets

Posted: September 30, 2011 by goaliesgetmorebetches in Season Preview, Winnipeg Jets
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jets' Goalie Ondrej Pavelec

Last season:34-36-12 80 pts, 4th Southeast, 12th Eastern Conference

Additions:Aaron Gagnon, Tanner Glass, Kendal Mcardal, Eric Fehr, Randy Jones, Derek Meech

Losses: Anthony Stewart, Radek Dvorak, Eric Boulton

Offense: Not much change on offense for the Jets, who have a dependable leader up front in Andrew Ladd. Winnipeg hopes that Brian Little can regain his scoring touch and that Blake Wheeler returns to 20 goal form. Exciting young Evander Kane is also on the verge of breaking the 20 goal threshold and this may be the season he does it. The most dramatic change that could occur up front would be moving Dustin Byfuglien back to forward, where he enjoyed great success during Chicago’s Cup run two seasons ago. Veteran Kazakhstan-born Nik Antropov will also chip in offensively. Also, look for the continued development of second year player Alexander Burmistrov, a kid with a ton of skill and potential.

Defense: The Jets have a serviceable group, though not spectacular. Assistant coach Charlie Huddy is looking to work with 21 year old blueline star Zach Bogosian to improve his own-zone play and make him a better rounded D-man. Bogosian is already an offensive threat but has been a bit of a risk in his own end until now. Moving Byfuglien to forward might be a good move overall for the team and it’s defense, as Byfuglien isn’t exactly the model of own-end consistency either. The Jets’ D’ corp isn’t an overtly physical one, full of guys who are better known as puck movers than they are for throwing earth-rattling checks and defensive zone play. Tobias Enstrom, Randy Jones and Ron Hainsey are case in point. While their production from the backline should be good, they might have a rough time against cycle teams with a heavy forechecking presence.

Goaltending: Returning to the fold will be last year’s duo of Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason. Pavelec is one of the league’s more exciting up and comers in goal, and Mason is a steady and reliable #1A if Pavelec, who has been somewhat injury prone in his brief NHL career, ends up out of the lineup for any amount of time. The #3 guy should again be former Denver University standout Peter Mannino, who is capable of serviceable backup duty at the NHL level. The Jets’ goaltending ranks as one of the teams’ strengths, particularly behind a defense that isn’t likely to give them much help.

Standout Player: Pavelec/Mason

The Jets should be an exciting team on offense but to call them an adventure on defense might be generous. The onus will fall on their talented goaltending duo keep them in games every night, and both guys could end up with 20 wins this season.

Prediction: 4th Southeast, 11th Eastern Conference.

The Jets will give fans in Winnipeg, hockey starved since 1996, something to cheer about. The team has some pieces in place to help build a winning team in the future, but the team isn’t ready to take that next step yet. The Jet’s years as a playoff contender are yet to come.

  1. Dan MacNeal says:

    I have no idea how Winnipeg is going to turn out. Plenty of good young players, new city, fresh start, but they’re still the Thrashers roster.

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