As you all know, the Jets have finally returned to Winnipeg this season after a bit of a hiatus. The NHL's unsuccessful attempt to have pucks in the ATL ultimately failed and led to the former Atlanta Thrashers relocating, much to the delight of Jets nation. Well, your Jets are back home and the team generally recognized as innovators of the white-out are back in the great white north. The older crowd has fond memories of the older Jets who played in Winnipeg from 1972-1996, and many of them look back with a smile on the days of Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson, and Joe Daley. Many in that same crowd also own jerseys that don such names on the backs of them. But what of the new generation of Jets fans? Many of them don't have a jersey to proudly display in public. This guide will help any member of Jets nation who needs a jersey (or just may want a new one) in making the decision as to whose name and number occupies the real estate on the back of the jersey. Check it out after the jump.
If you're a leader: You should get Andrew Ladd's jersey (#16). The great thing about Ladd is that he knows what it takes to win. Previously a Stanley Cup champ with the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks, this guy was a grinder who does everything he can and leads by example. The 6'3" 205 pound Ladd is also the captain, and on a team like the Jets that's full of youth, they look to the 7 year man with two cups to his name. Another great thing about Ladd is that he's locked up long term, so you'll get a good run out of that jersey barring a trade.
If you like a young gun: You should get Evander Kane's jersey (#9). All you have to do to believe in this guy is watch Monday night's game against the Panthers. He gets rocked on a high hit by Panthers forward Scottie Upshall, comes back and responds by scoring two goals, including a game tying one with less than a minute to go in regulation. That game is a microcosm of what you get from young Evander: toughness and a will to get to the net and score goals. If young Kane is willing to make a commitment to this team and stay in Winnipeg and help them win, this jersey will definitely be a worthwhile buy.
If you like to throw your weight around: You should get Dustin Byfuglien's jersey (#33). They call him Big Buff for a reason. The 6'5" wrecking machine can play defense and forward, although he's used more in a defensive capacity for Winnipeg. Still not convinced? watch this. Buf completely bullies one of the NHL's premier tough guys, the currently out-of-commission Chris Pronger, on his way to the puck. As you all know, physicality is a huge element of this game, and if you don't go out there and knock guys down and intimidate them, chances are you won't win. Case in point: San Jose Sharks. How many Stanley Cups do they have? I digress. Byfuglien's huge frame along with his scoring acumen make him a worthy jersey candidate.
If you like the unsung hero: You should get Tobias Enstrom's jersey (#39). Tobias is the current ironman of the Jets, having set the record last season and taking it from Slava Kozlov. A guy who normally doesn't come to mind when you mention Winnipeg's household names, Enstrom's ability to pass the puck is one of the best among those at his position. He was an All star last season because of his ability to find the open teammate. Another good quality? He's only 26 years old, giving him plenty of years to improve and possibly establish himself as a Jets household name and perhaps even become a premier D-man in the NHL.
If you're like me: You'll get a Zach Bogosian jersey (#4). A former 3rd overall draft pick, Bogosian still has plenty of time to develop. The fact that he can play at a competent level in the NHL at 21 is a testament in itself to his ability. In his first two seasons, he's only suffered a few injuries, one of those due to a freak accident. His toughness allows him not to miss any time, and he does many things that you won't find in the stats. He sticks up for teammates, pinches offensively at precisely the right time, and gets into passing lanes because of great hockey instincts. To be a defenseman who contributes on offense and defense in the NHL is no easy feat; to do it at 21 is downright shocking. But Bogosian does this, and as such, I would proudly wear his jersey.
If you like to take gambles: You'll get a Mark Scheifele jersey. Oh, The Scheifele. What can be said about The Scheifele? The 7th overall pick this summer that GM Kevin Cheveldayoff invested in, The Scheifele impressed during his brief time as part of the Jets but was sent back to junior hockey for the time being. A 4 point performance in a preseason game gave fans reason to believe in him, but as far as I'm concerned I'm gonna need to see more out of this guy to justify his being picked at 7. He does have star potential, but the question remains of whether he'll put it together. But if you want to be known as "The guy who had The Scheifele's jersey before anyone else did", you'd do yourself a favor in investing in one now. I'd say he'll be back in Winnipeg before next season is through.
Hope you guys enjoyed my first real post on Arctic Ice Hockey. Remember, gameday is tomorrow, so make sure you're ready!