Top Five Reactions from the Winnipeg Jets' pre-season

Marianne Helm

A quick review of the least important part of the NHL season.

What did I learn: the Winnipeg Jets are not a Stanley Cup favorite. No this is not Arby, and no is this isn't his arch-nemesis. But, it is true and I think every Jets' fan understands this. Though things have been far from perfect, there are some positives to take from the preseason, so let's focus on the brightside.

1) Ladd's Little Wheeler is still a pretty good line

They showed moments of rust and needing to "get back their timing" (to steal from Claude Noel), but the Jets' top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler still do what they do best. They did not go on a scoring frenzy but were dominant in keeping the puck in the oppositions zone, both out-shooting and out-chancing their opponents.

2) Evander Kane can be impressive even on his own

In the game against Edmonton Oilers:

Kane was indeed paired up with Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi that game. Neither had an awe-inspiring game but were not anchors either; however, it was by Kane's own brute force that the Jets out-chanced every line and defensive pairing the Oilers had that game.

3) Young guns have some promise

If we were to be realistic, the Jets are far from being the only ones with promising prospects. Still, there was a lot to be excited for as a sports fan. Mark Scheifele showed great vision and enough speed to keep up with Evander Kane (pretty much the most important features for a centre to work with Kane). Jacob Trouba recovered from a disappointing rookie tournament, showcasing the awesome -- albeit raw -- skills that Charlie Huddy will be molding. Joshua Morrissey showed poise with and without the puck that shouldn't be seen with someone so young. Nicolas Petan, Adam Lowry, Ryan Olsen, J.C. Lipon, Jan Kostalek and Brenden Kichton all showed flashes of promise.

4) Although the Jets lost all but one, they had some decent goaltending

With the exception of the final game, the Jets' goaltenders consistently posted above replacement level save percentage, despite some poor outings by the team overall (see it is possible). Eddie Pasquale looked ready to bounce back from his slump last season. Both Juho Olkinuora and Michael Hutchinson look like solid RFA signings with potential NHL upside. And, saving best for last, Ondrej Pavelec posted a 0.915 save percentage in the post season. Ceteris perebus, that would have been sufficient to push Jets into the post-season the last two years.

5) Grant Clitsome likes advance stats and my tweets... at least when it has to do with him

Now to interrupt the kumbaya session with some realism

"The preseason doesn't count" has been a pretty regular mantra... and it is true in a way. There are no points given out in the preseason. No trophies. No records.

Still, it matters in it's own way. These are your team's players, playing in your team's system against other teams doing the same. It has even been shown that there is some correlation to preseason and regular season success and failure. The 1-4-3 record is far from inspiring, but it is also not damning.

In the end sports is a form of entertainment, and I will enjoy this season.. watching this bubble team fight four other bubble teams in the Central Division for one playoff spot and possibly the two wild cards (depending on our sister division in the Western Conference).

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below... I may give my not-so-brightside thoughts there as well.

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