Strap In!

 Your 2014 -15 Winnipeg Jets – 

by Derek Curtis – 

The long summer is over for Winnipeg Jets fans and we’re ready for the puck to drop.  Pre-season was a fun ride with the likes of Ehlers, Petan and Morrissey putting their skills on display to give Jets fans a taste of what we hope is a bright future.  But that’s pre-season …

After many debates over who should stay, who should go and some still debating, we have our line up pretty well set and it’s all systems go!

We are slowly moving away from being that team with the 1a, 1b top six and then a drop off to our bottom six.  Let’s be honest, this is the best our top six has looked since the return of the Winnipeg Jets to Manitoba.

Everyone is pumped to see the Wheeler, Scheifele, Kane line develop some chemistry and hopefully emerge as a true top scoring line for this team.

January 28, 2014-Jets-Preds-09

Winnipeg Jets new “A” captain Blake Wheeler                 photo by Shawn Coates

If we have any hope of making the playoffs, this line is going to have to be just that, a top scoring line while playing top defensive pairings across the league, night in night out.  The balance of this team lies heavily in this line’s capability.

Little, Ladd, and Byfuglien/Frolik looks to be our second line.  For me, I like the idea of having Byfuglien in there just based on his size and offensive awareness. Not taking anything away from Frolik but, I think Dustin has a bit better scoring touch when he’s on his game.

I like the idea of not having to lean on Ladd, Little and Wheeler to put up all of our offence.  In the past, we were far to easy to shut down with only having one just decent scoring line and no center for Kane to work with consistently.

The Winnipeg Jets off-season addition of Perrault was one of the better signings we have seen from Chevy to date.

He isn’t going to come in here and burnout the light bulbs in the scoring lamps. He is a good two-way player with enough offensive talent to put points up.  What we will get is an excellent third line center who can push us from that two lined team into a well-rounded top nine!

I like the idea of Michael Frolik on this third line.  With the addition of Adam Lowry, I like the balance of having a big man on all three top lines to help down low and in front of the net.

Frolik’s speed and aggressive play could cause fits for many of the third lines across the entire league.

The fourth line … I’m sure a few cringe when they read that.  Me?  I love the fourth line guys.  An important piece to any successful team.  Today’s NHL is not different.

Jimmy Slater, Chris Thorburn, T.J. Galiardi, Mike Peluso and Matt Halischuk whoever.  I love em all!  One of the hottest and oddest debates during pre-season was who should be on this line.

I have no issues with these guys as far as expectations go.  If all we need is fourth line role (no I don’t mean fighting) and a few good shifts a game out of these fellows, I’m confident they can deliver.

First pairing Bogosian and Enstrom are still looking a little shaky for us.  From Bogo I’m looking to see him pick his game up and move into that comfort zone again. Just a solid hard shut down game.  Nothing too flashy.  Get back to his game and not trying to do too much.

What can I say.  I’m not the biggest fan of Toby’s.  He gets owned along the wall in our own end often, is not physical enough to hold his own in front of our net and that stick he uses makes it hard for him to take a low shot for a rebound from the point.

However…

Toby has a darn good eye for the game and uses his body positioning very well to force players around him.  He can skate very well and does have a good eye for the net … fourteen inches and up of course.

Mark Stuart with our young star in the making Jacob Trouba.  I hope to see Trouba take another step forward this season.  We have been able to give him good minutes and he if keeps improving this kid is going to be a beast and take that top pairing role.

For now, we stick him with Mark Stuart, easily our emotional leader.  I like idea of Stuart protecting our young gun Trouba.  Though Stuart in my mind, isn’t a top four guy and shouldn’t be on the second pairing.

He is at his best when he’s playing on that aggressive, physical edge.  That style of play and top four minutes don’t add up well.

I’m hoping to see the Paul Postma that played that last pre-season game.  Take that next step and find some consistency at a higher level.  If he can do that and Clitsome can get back to his old form, maybe we can surprise a few teams? Something I will continue to watch!

Adam “Pardy Time” is consistent and fun with the dangles at times but a good Grant Clitsome and an improved Paul Postma are better options for me.

Jets-Kings-004

Ondrej Pavelec needs a bounce back season                photo by Shawn Coates

Goaltending is going to have to be better, plain and simple.  With Maurice’s new systems in place, this is a big opportunity for Pavelec to silence the nay sayers.

Hutch started off rough in pre-season but he is young and has potential.  I’m curious to see how it all shakes out after the season on both fronts.

I don’t expect too much out of this Winnipeg Jets team this season but I want to see improvement in a few areas, keeping teams on their toes and make em earn any win they want to steal from us!

So “Strap in” folks!  We’re cleared for take off!

Go Jets Go!

You can follow Derek Curtis on Twitter at ☛  ☛    

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WHTGuys (47 Posts)


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