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GameDay Preview - Jets vs. Oilers - September 29 - "Showtime"

When the Winnipeg Jets meet the Oilers tonight at Rexall Place in Edmonton, It will be game 4 of the Jets' 7 game preseason schedule. Many of the younger players have already been reassigned to the IceCaps or their "Junior" clubs. Is it "showtime" for the remaining young guns to make the big club?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets preseason roster has been trimmed from 55 players down to 36. With 4 preseason games left to play, the battle for roster positions will intensify. Apart from an actual spot on the Jets' roster, the players will be jockeying for position as injury call-ups, once the regular season is underway.

"Showtime" is at 8 P.M. Central time. (Note the later start with the Mountain Time Zone). The game is on TSN 3 (television) and TSN 1290 (radio and internet streaming audio).

Some Thoughts

Winnipeg Jets

Injuries - Evander Kane has been practicing and might be available to play tonight. (Maurice has not revealed his lineup for tonight's game yet). Paul Postma and Dustin Byfuglien are "day to day". Eric O'Dell and TJ Galiardi won't be available this week.

Adam Lowry has been delivering some crushing checks, including a big one on Benoit Pouliot when these clubs last met.  Watch for Lowry and Lipon to develop their game with solid checks, and good positional play.

Zach Bogosian looked good in the first preseason game against Minnesota, playing with some intensity. I'm watching to see if Bogosian plays that style again tonight.

The Jets' power play looked good against Edmonton last Wednesday. If the Jets are going to be successful this season, their special teams need to be good. The penalty kill needs to be better than it was on Saturday night. This is another opportunity for Lowry to show his ability in this area.

Nikolaj Ehlers seems to enjoy hitting, and even to be a bit of an agitator. This is fun to watch (especially considering Ehlers' small size!), but it might not be the best use of his energy at this point in the preseason. He needs to continue to show his ability to make smooth breakout plays, working with his line mates. He can also further his cause by making sound plays defensively. Look for Ehlers to improve again, tonight.

Nic Petan has looked really good. He looks more "NHL ready" than Ehlers. I'm looking for Petan to continue to show sound positional play, and to display his playmaking talent when he gets the opportunity.

Josh Morrissey has demonstrated that he has the skill and hockey intelligence to be successful. He also looks ready to join the big club. I love watching Morrissey and Jacob Trouba playing together! Watch Morrissey tonight, to see if he takes another step forward toward his goal to make the NHL.

There's lots of competition on the back end, with many defensemen fighting for those "depth" roster spots. I would put Grant Clitsome, Adam Pardy, Keaton Ellerby, Paul Postma and Ben Chiarot in this category - either on the third D pairing, or in a depth role. There's some good competition for those spots. Ben Chiarot has looked good to me - very sound defensively. Clitsome and Postma have some offensive ability, but need to shore up the defensive side of their games. To be honest, if Morrissey will make the Jets, he also needs to strengthen his defensive play.

Matt Halischuk has looked good in the preseason. Look for some spirited play from him, and other forwards battling for the depth positions at forward, including the young guns. I'll be watching those roster battles tonight.

Michael Hutchinson will be starting in goal for the Jets. Danny Taylor is expected to get some playing time in relief, between the pipes tonight.

Edmonton Oilers

Darnell Nurse (D) and Leon Draisaitl (C) have both looked great this preseason. Keep an eye on them, as well as Jesse Joensuu (LW). Tyler Pitlick (RW) is another player who is having a good preseason for Edmonton.

Players to boo (at the TV screen or radio)

I'm not channeling my inner Don Cherry when I say this. I just remember that Nail Yakupov was an agitator against the Jets in a regular season game last year. So if you want to enjoy a little prairie rivalry, he seems like a good candidate for the boo-birds tonight.


I'm sorry to say that my hunch is that Edmonton will win at home tonight. If the Jets are going to win tonight, it will require our young guns to have really great performances. I love our young skaters, but my hunch is that Edmonton wins in an old-time, Gretzky-styled comeback, 5-3. Believe me, it pains me to write this, but any fellow Jets 1.0 fans will know whereof I speak.