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To The Victor Go The Spoils

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With the World Cup and the start of NHL training camps right around the corner, fans of the Winnipeg Jets are starting to wonder how the forward lines will shape up.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I wrote and posted "The Sleeper Must Awaken", an article focusing on one of the main pieces in the Evander Kane trade that came back to Winnipeg, namely promising forward Joel Armia, and his up and down path in reaching consistent NHL playing time.  I suggested in the article that perhaps adding Patrik Laine as Armia's linemate could help Armia reach his anticipated potential, and vice versa.  A big shoutout and thank you to everyone who read, commented and/ or voted in the following poll that was embedded in the article;

As of this writing, 743 votes had been tallied (and when I closed the poll after writing this piece, 745 had voted), so let's take a few moments to examine the poll, and see how the top 4 results will reflect upon the suggested lines going into this coming season. Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has already stated that the players best prepared to play and win coming into training camp will gain roster spots, so to the victor go the spoils! We could see a lot of movement, and a few surprises, but we all love to speculate how the team will shape up.  Some may find this a bit "too soon" to be juggling lines like this, but hey, it's the dog days of summer! We could all use a little hockey talk (don't get me started on Trouba's Summer "Holdout"...that's for another time).  Giddy up!

Starting at 4th place at 13%, 94 votes thought that Patrik Laine would wind up being the left winger in a different line combo rather than the suggestions given above.  In my mind, this would eliminate Scheifele and Little as centers.  So who's left at Center?  Mathieu Perreault?  Would this be considered the third?

What about Alex Burmistrov centering the third with Laine,  and Perreault taking up the 2nd LW position?...

The possibilities are almost endless.  Let's carry on, shall we?

Coming in at 3rd, the poll suggestion garnering 14% of the vote, or 105 votes, we have the following...

The potential of this line would be fantastic, and the sky would be the limit in points. However,  Ehlers would drop out of the suspected top line onto the second...

Coming in at 2nd, the poll suggestion garnering 27% of the vote, or 197 votes, we have Laine with Little and Armia,...

This puts Ehlers back on the top line, and Perreault and Stafford on the third line (if it's assumed that the Laine line is second).

And finally, coming in first with 35% or 261 votes, we have Laine with Little and Stafford...

This puts Laine with two veterans and would drop Armia down to the assumed third line.

Two more notes...as we move the pieces about, the bottom 6 changes also.  Perreault could be a third line LW or center, and the same goes for Burmistrov or Lowry.  Andrew Copp, Shawn Mattias (who likely wasn't signed to play on the fourth line) and Marko Dano kind of round out the bottom 6. Chris Thorburn could be put in too, depending upon the circumstances. Petan, Kosmachuk, Tanev, & De Leo all saw time last year too, and are options again this coming season. Again, it's all suggestion.

Another wrinkle if you will, is the suggestion being made about Kyle Connor,  as some have said that he should or may start the season with the Manitoba Moose, while others have him pegged to start the NHL season with the Jets. The debate is pretty interesting.  Some scouts feel he's NHL ready.  Some have Connor pegged to make the team, like Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin,  both of whom have made the smooth transition from College to the NHL.

If that's the case and Connor is NHL ready, we could see this as a strong possibility...

Or Laine could shift to the RW, pushing Stafford and Armia down the lineup, and Connor could slide in at #2 LW...

...Or Perreault takes #2 LW, and Connor slips down to #3 LW...

Just a quick note that of all the players listed above, only 5 don't require waivers in order to be sent  down to the Moose - Ehlers, Laine, Connor, Dano and Copp.  Everyone else would need to go thru waivers and be at risk of being picked up by another team with no compensation back to the Jets. As for the remainder of guys that will likely spend the majority of time with the Moose this season, only Howden, Lipon, and Peluso would require waivers if called up to the Jets and then sent back down. Here's the remainder, in no particular order...

A big shout out goes to NHLarmchairGM.com for all their hard work!  What do you think? Your comments, points and line combos are welcome below.

Thanks for reading!

Update - Sean Reymolds of Sportsnet sits down with Teemu Selanne and talks about Patrik Laine, and his fit with the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Jets.  Interesting take on where Laine should start in the lineup and on power plays, and the expectations of the passionate fans.

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