Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Sept. 19

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned.

1. Jets:  The big news of the week in Jetsville is that the Winnipeg Jets have decided to go without a captain this season.  This came as no surprise to a lot of Jets fans but it did catch Blake Wheeler off guard.  Based on what he said during his presser he was informed just a couple of days prior to the Friday presser and he admitted he had no idea this was coming.  He was very gracious in saying he was honoured to be a captain in the NHL and especially in a Canadian city.  It looks like the Jets will be going with rotating Alternate Captains for this season.

2. Jets. There are whispers out there about Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews trade to Winnipeg brewing.  Now I’m not sure this has any legs and it is probably just rumblings in a chat room, or wannabee insiders looking for clickbait but it sure would be interesting.

3. Jets:

How many games will backup goalie David Rittch start?

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4. Jets:  Remember when Paul Maurice accused Matthew Tkachuk of purposely injuring Mark Scheifele in the play-in series a couple of years ago in the”bubble”?  I wonder how their first meeting was in Florida?

5. NHL:  Another one of the decent UFA targets is off the board as the Calgary Flames have offered Sonny Milano a PTO.

6. NHL:  I guess this season’s slogan is “Tank Hard For Connor Bedard”.  Count Chocula is going to just despise this.  Ha Ha Ha.

7. Jets: I thought Jets’ prospect Brad Lambert (30th overall in the 2022 draft) showed pretty well in the first game of the Young Stars Tournament.  He used his good speed to drive around a defender to the net a scored a pretty nice goal.  I’m very curious to see what type of numbers he puts up with Seattle in the WHL this season.

UPDATE:

On Monday, Brad Lambert, Chaz Lucius, and Cole Perfetti all scored in the final game of the tournament giving the Jets a 5-3 win.  

8. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff, Mark Chipman, or Rick Bowness.

Was the decision to go without a captain this season a Rick Bowness decision or a management decision?

9. NHL:  Back to Toews and Kane, the Hawks would have to eat a boatload of salary to make a trade like this with any team but wouldn’t it be interesting to see a trade involving these two players

10. Jets:  Cole Perfetti looked very poised in his first real hockey game since his season-ending injury with the Jets last season. He sees the ice at a different level than most players his age.  I think Perfetti will have a good second season if Rick Bowness plays him in the top 6.  The only thing that concerns me is Cole is a smurf and the hit he took last season that injured him wasn’t much.  I fear for him if he is playing on the wing. 

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11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work this offseason?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Jets:  Important Dates:  

September 14:  Winnipeg Jets rookie camp.

September 16-19:   Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC. 

Game 1:   Winnipeg vs Edmonton Fri, Sept. 16 4:00pm PT
Game 2:  Calgary vs Vancouver Fri, Sept. 16 7:30pm PT
Game 3:  Calgary vs Edmonton Sat, Sept. 17 7:30pm PT
Game 4:  Vancouver vs Winnipeg Sun, Sept. 18 2:00pm PT
Game 5:  Winnipeg vs Calgary Mon, Sept. 19 11:00am PT
Game 6:  Vancouver vs Edmonton Mon, Sept. 19 2:30pm PT

September 22:  Winnipeg Jets main camp opens.

September 24:  Winnipeg Jets Fanfest.

13. NHL:  FYI:  In case you were wondering about the salaries of Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane.

Patrick Kane:  One more season with a cap hit of $10,500,000 and actual cash money of $6,900,000.

Jonathon Toews:  One more season with a cap hit of $10,500,000 and actual cash money of $6,900,000.  

14. Jets:  I can’t help but wonder if the Jets’ change in leadership has anything to do with making Pierre-Luc Dubois feel like a part of the core leadership going forward. 

15. Jets:  I don’t know what the Hawks would want for Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane but I wouldn’t give them any of our first-round picks drafted the past couple of years.  Taking them off their hands and helping the “Tank Hard For Connor Bedard” sweepstakes should be enough.

16. Jets:  A question I get asked a lot by family and friends is “if the Winnipeg Jets prospects are so good why don’t they light it up in these prospect tournaments?” 

The answer is simple.  In these tournaments, they are playing against a group of their peers, not a bunch of 16, 17, and 18-year-olds from the club teams in their respective leagues.  The teams in these tournaments are made up of recent NHL draft picks and the best free-agent players from the CHL, USHL, NCAA, and the top European leagues.  The competition is tough and very competitive.      

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Some National Hockey League Preseason Thoughts

A couple Saturday night National Hockey League games – 

This past weekend, I watched a couple of  National Hockey League preseason games.  The first one was between the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. I was interested to see if Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian were playing. Bogosian was injured but Kane was playing.  Kane was on a line with Tyler Ennis and rookie center Jack Eichel.  The line definitely had some chemistry as they accounted for most of Buffalo’s scoring.  Ennis had three goals while Eichel had two assists and Evander scored a goal as well.  Kane has three goals so far in two exhibition games.

It was an entertaining game with Buffalo winning 5-4.  Kane’s style of play has not changed since he played for the Jets.  He gives defencemen fits with his physical play.  He’s a human wrecking ball for the most part.  It will be interesting to see how well he does with this revamped Buffalo team and if he can avoid injury due to his style of play.

It was the first time I have seen Jack Eichel play against National Hockey League players and he looked very good.  He was playing against a veteran Ottawa squad and at times was a dominating player.  What impressed me was how well he skates and how smart he is with the puck.  He set up Ennis with one of his goals with a picture perfect pass.  He has the size and speed to be able to be successful in the National Hockey League.  To me, he looked every bit as good as Evander Kane who has played in the National Hockey League for roughly five years.

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Buffalo will be an interesting team to watch this season with a number of young players who hopefully will make the Sabres more competitive.  One young player I will be following is Sam Reinhart to see how much of an impact he makes this season.

The next game I watched was the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.  This was not a preseason game in my opinion as it seemed to me it was like a regular season game.  Both teams seem to be set for the season with their regular lineups.  St. Louis gave it all they had but Chicago has so much firepower that they put it away in the third period with none other than Patrick Kane scoring on a breakaway to put the game out of reach.  Duncan Keith scored a late power play goal to win it by a score of 3-1.  Ironically, St. Louis scored on the three on three overtime.

The champs look good

Chicago looks very good.  Bad news for the rest of Central Division teams in my opinion.  They play with so much confidence it’s scary.  They have their core group of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, and goaltender Corey Crawford all signed to long-term contracts.  You just have to have a half decent supporting cast in place to plug the holes and they do.  I must say Stan Bowman has done a masterful job dealing with the salary cap problems his team faced after winning the Stanley Cup. He made timely trades and let other players go and it hasn’t seemed to weaken his team at all. We will see if  some team can knock them off this season.  Maybe our Jets will be the giant killers.  We can only hope.

Jake the snake

A number of prospects have impressed me this preseason.  Jake Virtanen, from the Vancouver Canucks, is one player who I like.  It will be difficult for him to crack the Canuck’s lineup but he should be a good player for them in the future. He’s a very physical player with skill.  He’s not afraid to hit anybody including a player who found out first hand in the Young Stars Classic named Connor McDavid.

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Darnel Nurse, an Edmonton Oilers defensive prospect, is another player who impresses me.  He’s big, physical, plays with an edge and he can skate and create offense.  I must say I wish the Winnipeg Jets had him but you can’t have everything.  Even though he is young, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he made the team this year.

McDavid MIA?

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen Connor McDavid play much this preseason.  It’s frustrating for me as it must be for paying fans expecting to see him on the ice but more often than not he’s not playing.  I guess Peter Chiarelli is the guy we have to ask why isn’t he playing in more games.

Jets Prospects?

After the Jets lost to the Minnesota Wild by a score of 8-1, most of the prospects have realized just how much of a leap it is to jump from junior hockey to the National Hockey League. Speaking about the Jet’s prospects, I think Andrew Copp will make the team as the 4th line center.  He’s got good size, can skate, and what I like is he’s always around the net looking for goals.  One surprise to me was Brendan Lemieux being sent back to junior after a short camp.  IMO, he is a player that eventually will be an important part of the Jets in the future.  Whether Nikolaj Ehlers and/or Nic Petan can make the team is anyone’s guess.  The most improved player I saw was Brendan Kichton.  Time spent plying his trade in the AHL has definitely helped.  It will be tough for him to crack the lineup as the Jets have so many defencemen ahead of him on the depth chart but for me he has improved a great deal compared to last year at training camp.

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