The Winnipeg Jets experienced one of the most disappointing seasons of any NHL team in 2016-17. After earning a playoff spot in 2014-15 for the first time since the team’s re-birth, the Jets have fallen flat on their faces in both of the past two seasons, with 2016-17 being particularly disappointing. The Jet’s performance last season was mostly good, but the team was done in by some epically poor goaltending. While they were rewarded with their terrible 2015-16 season with Patrik Laine, there was no such luck this time around.
With longtime anchor Ondrej Pavelec finally departed from the team’s crease, youngster Connor Hellebuyck will be given a second chance to prove his worth as an NHLer in 2017-18, but this time he’ll have a solid veteran safety net in the form of the recently signed Steve Mason. Look for the two to split starts in a 1A/1B fashion until one emerges as the team’s true starting goaltender. Simply by adding some competition to the fold, the Jets’ goaltending should be much stronger in 2017-18.
After years of knocking at the door, center Mark Scheifele finally emerged as an NHL star in 2016-17. His career high 32 goals and 82 points makes him the team’s offensive leader, but how long until linemates Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers pass him? The young trio looks poised to do big things in 2017-18 and beyond.
As for the team’s blue line, look for Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey to continue their development next season. Trouba hit a new high in points last season when he tallied 33 in 60 games, but the 23-year-old could blow past the 40 point mark with ease next season. As for Morrissey, the 21-year-old looked solid in his first NHL season and should benefit from a full summer of offseason training.
With some revamped goaltending and a young core of talent up front and on defense, the Jets seem to finally be on the right track. But, can they compete for a playoff spot in 2017-18? Have your say on our poll question below: