Today is the final day of our FanSided Around the NHL In 30 days. The final season preview by Steve Fetch covers the Winnipeg Jets at our site called Hockey At The Forks. If you live in Winnipeg you know what that means.
The excitement of having professional hockey back this Canadian City has caused quite a stir among fans both in Winnipeg and throughout NHL fandom. It’s been 15 years since the Jets left for Phoenix when the city just couldn’t support a team. Things are different now, and while I do feel bad for the people in Atlanta, Winnipeg is anxious to get the season under way.
Steve talks about the jets offense here:
The Jets’ top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler looks to be at least an above average one. Last year Wheeler had an equal goal scoring rate to some Alex Ovechkin guy, and as I have covered with Ladd, he has the ability to direct play and dominate opponents despite playing against tough competition as well as starting a good number of shifts in his own zone.
Behind those three, there are hopes that Evander Kane can turn into potentially a 30 goal scorer, though that would require an 11 goal improvement next season. Still, Kane gets a lot of ice time at even strength and he gets some protected minutes (starting almost 54% of his shifts in the offensive zone), though he did play against the 2nd toughest competition amongst regular forwards, trailing only Ladd. Kane draws a ton of penalties and doesn’t take many, so he is great in that regard as well. He gets a good amount of power play time as well, so I think 30 goals is within reach, but I’d like to see him used on the penalty kill as well. He’ll be joined by Alex Burmistrov, who plays pretty well in his own zone, and Nik Antropov, who is a big enough guy and talented enough to take some attention away from Kane.
Coming from Atlanta the players will be treated to something special at home games that they aren’t used to….a packed house! While that most likely won’t be enough to vault them into the top 8 of the Eastern Conference, the Jets will be competitive to an extent. The one aspect that will haunt them the whole season could be travel. Winnipeg, Manitoba is not a conducive starting point to play teams in the Eastern Conference and I’m wondering if jet lag plays a bigger role in their season than people think.
It’s good to see hockey back in Winnipeg, but not at the expense of Atlanta. That’s a discussion we’ll have another time.
For the rest of the preview click here.
Finally, as the NHL Director, I’d like to thank all of our writers who participated in the group project. It certainly made September go fast and guess what? Tomorrow is October!
As always thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Please visit our NHL main page: Too Many Men On The Site.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @patrckmclaughln , Scott Mullin @ScottFMullin, Cameron Tahernia @Lord_Panther, and Yuri Peralta @FlaPanthersGirl. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and make some comments.