From what you and I have seen this year, this team has showed flashes of guts and pulled out some really nice wins. Unfortunately lately, with the exception of yesterday, such wins are hard to come by these days. It's great that the Jets are back in Winnipeg. It's an overall win for hockey, unless you are one of the very few fans who live in Atlanta and pulled for the Thrashers. Next year the honeymoon for the Jets and their fans will be over, as expectations to win will follow. Moves will definitely have to be to assure Winnipeg a spot as a significantly talented team in the NHL. Let's start with the forwards.
Last week, the Jets were mired in a rather miserable losing streak. Mistakes were made and many a game were lost. Unfortunately, this is a team that doesn't yet have the caliber of talent to make a playoff run. Be warned; I'm about to be a journalist and say some things that not many of you will be thrilled about. But if you choose to read on, I'll evaluate each position and see what needs to be improved and fixed and tinkered with throughout the rest of the season. Keep in mind this is just a blanket evaluation; I'll frequently be looking at the draft prospects as well as potential free agent targets. More after the jump.
Forwards: The only time this offense seems to be in sync is when they play the Flyers. There are two players I love: Evander Kane and The Scheifele. Both are going to be key pieces to the proverbial blueprint to a Stanley cup championship. Andrew Ladd I like for his leadership, but his scoring ability leaves a bit to be desired. The second line is abysmal compared to most NHL teams; the bottom line is that this team should stockpile draft picks and build their forwards corps through the draft. Expect a draft update to come from me soon, like within the next week soon.
Defense: From what I've seen, this team has a handful of reliable defensemen. Byfuglien can be a headache at times, but is an offensive weapon, and Bogosian a young gun. The rest, like the forwards, are just temporary pieces for the long run. The free agent market in this upcoming offseason is an embarrassment of riches. If the front office is willing to spend money, the beginning of a stalwart defense can be developed in the offseason. A second defensive pairing improvement is sorely needed to make this team a contender
Goaltender: This one is a bit more confusing. Pavelec was a player that I used to have faith in, but unfortunately I see him more and more as a short term solution. The Jets should move forward getting him as much playing time as possible this season, and possibly target a goaltender in the second round of the draft if the timing is right. Drafting goalies can be tricky though, see the Thomas McCollum- Jakob Markstrom draft. You never know who is going to pan out. The jury, I think, is still out when it comes to the goaltending situation.