Winnipeg Jets Making Playoffs A Done Deal?

 

Winnipeg Jets Hockey Is Back!

Finally, hockey’s back so let’s get right to why I believe the Winnipeg Jets will make the playoffs this season.

After all, having our young prospects flying around in a rookie tournament is a sight for sore eyes.  I like lots of what I see there but that must be kept in perspective.  Not many of them will help the Winnipeg Jets this year however, a few of them should be developing in the AHL and hopefully pushing for NHL jobs in due time.

Chevy’s Summer

Quite frankly,  my prediction is not due to any awesome moves this summer by Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.  At the same time, I don’t have a problem with his acquisitions either.  Overall, there are enough moves to give the Jets a legit shot of making the playoffs if most things go right.  This definitely is now Chevy’s team and his path has been chosen.  As a fan, I’m hoping “most everything goes right”.

So About Those Other Teams…

A huge part of looking at playoff possibilities has been looking at the competition.  After all, most teams out there are vulnerable in various forms. 

As to the Central Division opposition the Jets will face this year, I’m keeping it short and sweet.  This isn’t the time for in-depth analysis.

After conceding the top two spots to St. Louis and Chicago, I like the Jets to battle for third.  Here are a few reasons:

west conf2Minnesota:  So-so goal-tending, a defence where one guy makes more than if you bundle all the rest of them together, and forwards who struggle to score overall.  What if Suter goes down?  Parise?

Nashville:  Best goalie, one stud defenceman, and about twelve 3third-line forwards.

Colorado:  So-so goaltending, so-so defence at best, some great young forwards with possibility of trades, etc.  Hardly a powerhouse.

Dallas:  Today, I’m wondering about these guys due to all the changes.  I like GM Nill who I played a few games with and he’s made a lot of moves.  Seguin and Gonchar = offence.  He lost a couple decent players but looks like a possible upgrade.  UNKNOWN though and not scary for that reason.

I haven’t forgotten about the cross-over wild-card playoff spots available.  In the Pacific;  Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose I like but the rest are variations of ho-hum.  Phoenix, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver do not look like powerhouses.

Now Back To The Winnipeg Jets

The optimist says Chevy might have made a slight upgrade overall this summer and is hanging on the hope that Mark Scheifele can break into the lineup and be a solid contributor on the second line.  That would make the summer a definite winner.

While I’m here, regular readers know I have been pumping Schef’s tires since last season yet I won’t be upset if he needs time in the AHL.  I’m in for the long haul.  It would be in line with his development cycle.  Having said that, I hope the cycle has accelerated this summer but who knows?

Winnipeg Jets Mark ScheifeleWhat If Scheifele Isn’t Ready?

If Scheifele not ready, Olli Jokinen has to have a bounce back year or we need a surprise from a prospect (doubtful) or a free-agent acquisition or trade for a #2 center.  As fans know, anxious moments ahead, and having three shooters on a line (Kane, Ollie, Setoguchi) makes me very nervous.

I could live with a top six of Ladd, Little, Wheeler, Kane, Setoguchi, Frolik (talent-wise) but there’s only one natural center in that. Once I start speculating like that, I know I’m reaching for depth.

So GO Schef GO!  😎

I expect the 3rd and 4th lines to be fine and even better if Scheifele pushes Jokinen down the ladder.

Is THIS The Year of Buff?

Defense is fine when I look around the conference.  Questions?  Sure!  What team doesn’t have them?  But, I’m good going in.  I had thought Little Buff might be traded but if he’s ever going to have a career year it’ll be this year due to the Olympics.  I don’t like that to be a factor.  A true pro shows the same commitment every year but I’ll take it if a boost in his play appears no matter the reason.  If we get the same as we’re used to from him, he’s still a very valuable asset.  Who knows if Trouba is ready?  Let’s make sure he’s good for the long-haul.

Winnipeg Jets Odrej PavelecAll I Want For Christmas Is A Better Pavs

Goal-tending is a bit of a concern as Ondrej Pavelec told us he needs to improve as have his teammates, coach and GM.  They all do.  His numbers tell us he has to be better and I think he will be based on a couple of tweaks I think will be corrected.  I’m not a goalie coach so I’m keeping shut about that.

But, I believe THAT and better management of his games played gives us some hope for a better, more consistent Pavs.  I just don’t know Montoya well enough to have an opinion there so that backup position has me holding my breath.

Star Power

Evander Kane: I can’t say enough about this game-breaking, truly electric player.  There are very few players in the NHL that can affect the sort of back-pedaling, tentative play from opposing defences that this guy can.  With a strong start to the season, he could be on Team Canada in Sochi.

Yea, I’m biased…

As a Winnipeg Jets fan, I’m a “glass-half-full” guy.  But, I try to look at what is really out there and since the Jets seem to clearly have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs it’s easy to make the next step and “predict” it.

Let’s face it!  A lot of things have to happen, in a good way, for the Winnipeg Jets to make the playoffs.  But, that’s for another day.

Today, I’m basking in this glorious prediction and hoping it turns into those long-awaited playoffs next spring in the ‘Peg  😎

 

Feel free to convey your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter @nhl_campell  

 

Comments

  1. Mitch Kasprick says

    BTW Mr.1.0 … I like Vancouver’s and Phoenix’s chances better than Winnipegs. But in saying that if the Jets get good second line production, our defence toughens up/tightens up and Pav plays no more than 60 games while learning to catch with his glove hand plus learn to handle the puck a lot better WE got a chance. Oh, I forgot that coach Noel MIGHT have to institute something resembling a defensive system. But I like our chances LOL !!!!

  2. If it wasn’t you, I’d think there was some sarcasm in here. lol That’s really not that much to need to get right. You need to do your homework on Pavs. He switched hands this summer. Vancouver could go any way- Torts has his work cut out. Lots of stuff going on there. *intangibles* 🙂 And Phoenix is well… 1.0- exactly half of 2.0! 🙂

  3. I prefer your read on things, Scott, and goodness knows both of you know encyclopaedias more about this than I do. I don’t see the Jets ahead of Phoenix or Vancouver, and hope I am wrong. If Smith falters, if Torts doesn’t click in Van, maybe. Van as far as I am concerned has already hit their apex with this lineup, mind.
    I also wanted to add Colorado has a rookie coach, as you know, of course. Not sure how that is going to work out, but I don’t expect wonders this season, at least.
    Here’s hoping, in other words!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      LOL … I prefer Scott’s version too but I was sworn in and under oath !!!!

      • Scott Campbell says

        Good points Carol; its just nice to get the pre-season going. Now that this is all on the site, we’ll have easy reference. The only facts will be wins and losses. Mitch, you’ve sworn in here but you forgot to mention it was The bible according to Gosbee that you put your hand on. 🙂

        • Mitch Kasprick says

          Long live 1.0 !!!

          • Scott Campbell says

            even though you’re trying to make me anti- 1.0, I’m not. I bought a house in Winnipeg, and had thought that to be my permanent home for a long time. Didn’t work out. Its the city that has stuck with me. I have great respect for 1.0. It’s just too bad they’ll be behind 2.0.

  4. Oly Backstrom says

    Scott, thanks for the article. This is pretty much exactly where my head is at. I am rooting for Ollie and Pavs to have a bit of a bounce back this year. Cautiously optimistic-hoping my wallet takes a bit of a hit with a few playoff games (spoken like a true Winnipegger 🙂 ).

    • Scott Campbell says

      Thanks for commenting Oly. We have to be cautious with all we need to go right, yet so many other teams are thinking the same thing. So why not us? haha to the playoff hit on the wallet- hoping many ‘pegger’s wallets have to absorb that hit. 🙂

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