The leaves are beginning to change, the air is getting colder, any colour in my skin is reverting back to a porcelain Irish shine and HOCKEY IS BACK IN WINNIPEG! The Winnipeg Jets open up preseason competition tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The game will take place in Winnipeg at 7 pm local time and is the first preseason game for both teams. If you aren't going to the game you can set your eyeballs to TSN 3 in order to watch the game.
Wild projected lineup:
Forwards: Nino Neiderrieter, Charlie Coyle, Justin Fontaine, Jason Zucker, Tyler Graovac, Jordan Schroeder, Michael Keranen, Cody Almond, Brett Bulmer, Curt Gogol, Brett Sutter, Kurtis Gabriel and Zack Mitchell. Although, one will need to be scratched prior to puckdrop.
Defensemen: Gustav Olofsson, Stu Bickel, Justin Falk, Keith Ballard, Jon Blum, Christian Folin and Dylan Labbe. Again, one will need to be scratched before the game.
Goalies: Niklas Backstrom and Ilya Bryzgalov. Both netminders will see time tonight so the MTS crowd will get to change up their chants throughout the night.
Projected Jets lineup:
Forwards: Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien; Nikolaj Ehlers, Mathieu Perreault, Chris Thorburn; Nikolaj Ehlers, Adam Lowry, Michael Frolik; Carl Klingberg, John Albert and Anthony Peluso.
Defensemen: Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian; Josh Morrissey, Keaton Ellerby; Ben Chiarot, Brenden Kichton.
Goaltenders: Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. In what I hope will be a harbinger for this season, Ondrej Pavelec will get the start and Michael Hutchinson will finish the game.
Three thoughts for tonight's game:
- While there will be several holdovers from last season in tonight's lineup, I'm looking forward to seeing what Ehlers, Morrissey and Klingberg bring to the table. All could be in the running to make the Jets this season, with the latter two being more likely. Considering the Jets plan for the future is dependent on drafting and developing the growth of players like them is absolutely integral to any hopes of improving in the future.
- FIT TEST: We've heard about the commitment made by several key members of the Jets towards showing up this year in better shape. It'll be interesting to see if there is a visible difference in how they appear on the ice and whether or not it has an impact on the Jets style of play.
- The future third line: The rumored second line for tonight is Ehlers, Perreault and Thorburn. While the presence of Thorburn is underwhelming, Perrault is the largest addition the Jets made in free agency and it will be interesting to see if he can form some chemistry with Ehlers. Eight of the top nine forward spots are likely spoken for going into this season with Ladd, Little, Byfuglien, Kane, Scheifele, Wheeler, Perreault and Frolik. It'll be interesting to see if one of the Jets younger forwards will be able to secure a spot as the third left wing or if it will be earned by someone like Eric O'Dell.
PUMP UP SONG!
Jets send the fans home happy with a 5-2 win.
Player to boo mercilessly:
It's has to be Bryzgalov right? It's just too fun not to.