The Winnipeg Jets had a very disappointing season after finally making the playoffs in 2015. They finished with 78 points, posting a 35-39-8 record. Their offense wasn’t bad, but could’ve definitely been better. It was their defense and goaltending, however, that really needed work. They were in the middle of the pack when it came to shots against per game, allowing 29.5, but near the bottom in goals allowed and save percentage. They allowed 2.88 goals a game and held a save percentage of .903.
The first big move came at the draft, Winnipeg picking second. With that pick, they selected Patrik Laine. This guy has potential to be a franchise player. His offensive game is great; he has a very good shot, is a nice passer, and his stick handling is impressive. He also is a solid defensive player. The expectation is that he’ll make an immediate impact.
When July 1st came, they grabbed Shawn Matthias to a two-year deal. Matthias is a solid top 9 forward who can produce 15-20 goals. He also brings speed and very good penalty killing. Last season, Winnipeg was 25th on the penalty kill at 78.4%. The Jets also signed forward Quentin Howden. As of now, he’s a bottom six forward at best, but at 24 years of age, he still has a couple years of growth. The final free agent acquisition was defenseman Brian Strait. It’s nothing special, but he’s a solid top 6 defenseman nonetheless.
Some key contract extensions included re-signing Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele. Perrault, re-signed to four more years, is a very good top 6 playmaker who produces about 20 goals and 30 assists in a season. Scheifele, given an eight year extension, was even more important. He’s a two way forward who, last season, produced 29 goals and 32 assists for the Jets.
Just recently, the Jets waived their long-time starter, Ondrej Pavelec, and he will be headed to the AHL. After a great 2015 season where he held a .920 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average, he finished with a .904 save percentage and 2.78 goals against average. Career-wise, he holds a 2.85 GAA and .907 SV%. It looks as though Michael Hutchinson will take over the reins with his .912 SV% and 2.53 GAA.
I think the Jets will be competitive this year, but I’m not sure if I see the playoffs this year. I would like to see them do well as Coach Paul Maurice is one of my favorite coaches.