The Jets post-season run was not ideal , but the upcoming season poses an opportunity to take the energy and motivation from that time and make this season’s outcome more desirable. During pre-season, the Jets managed to pull it together, but hopefully the energy will transfer to their first game of the season against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. This is what we Jets fans have to look forward to for the upcoming season:
Alexander Burmistrov is back! After being gone for two seasons, Burmi is back with the Jets and will hopefully continue to bring his energy from pre-season. If you don’t follow the Jets on Twitter, you missed head coach Paul Maurice loving how useful he is in other positions. Burmistrov has become a very well-rounded player, and I’m glad he’s back with the Jets. Jim Slater and the Jets did not come to terms yet, as he is now UFA and will most likely be playing in Europe. T.J. Galiardi signed a contract with Malmö in the SHL. Lee Stempniak also left the Jets and is playing for the Devils, along with Jiri Tlusty. Eric O’Dell made his way onto the Senators roster for the season, and Michael Frolik joined the Flames. Nic Petan and Nikolaj Ehlers, both recent drafts for the Jets, will be joining the team for the season.
Here is the projected line up for the first game:
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Mathieu Perreault
Alex Burmistrov – Adam Lowry – Drew Stafford
Nic Petan – Andrew Copp – Chris Thorburn
Keaton Ellerby will be playing in the KHL for the season but, other than that, there are not any other defensive line up changes. Hopefully Enstrom can have a healthy season – he only played 60 games of the regular season in 2014-2015. Enstrom and Myers have proved to be a great defensive pairing, but the pre-season played around with the pairings, and Enstrom and Chiarot also go well together. Hopefully we will see Clitsome taken off IR as well.
Here is the projected defense pairings:
Toby Enstrom – Tyler Myers
Ben Chiarot – Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart – Jacob Trouba
Ondrej Pavelec should be starting in goal against the Bruins on Thursday, but between Hutchinson and Pavelec, the Jets goaltending is strong. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Connor Hellebuyck called up. Hutchinson sported a 21-10-5 record and a .914 save percentage last season, and Pavelec had a 22-16-8 and a .920 save percentage.
Here is how I believe the Central Division standings will pan out:
1-Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have been on fire the past few seasons, but this is of course contingent on what becomes of Patrick Kane.
2-St. Louis Blues: The Blues were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and they will be changing a lot up with the departure of T.J. Oshie. Will they be able to recreate the energy from last season?
3-Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are slowly figuring it all out, but every season they get closer and closer to figuring out their groove. Thankfully for my Thrasher loving heart, the roster hasn’t had any dramatic changes other than the trade with Buffalo. I look forward to seeing what an entire season with Stafford and Myers will do to the dynamic of the team, because I liked what I saw from February on of last season. Will it be enough for another chance in the post-season? (I really, really hope so.)
4-Minnesota Wild: The Wild have some of the best depth as far as goaltending is concerned, but after being swept in the second round of the playoffs, they have a bit of work to do if they want to get back to that level.
5-Nashville Predators: The Predators are changing up their depth before the start of the season, and they stand a good chance of being a Wild Card contender. They have signed entry-level contracts on a few new players, so it could go either way.
6- Colorado Avalanche: After finishing last in the division last season, even though this division was by far the closest in points of any of the four, the Avs could gain enough momentum to make it to the post-season, but there needs to be a bit change in the depth before that happens.
7-Dallas Stars: Seguin is really making a name for himself in Dallas, but I just don’t see there being enough of an impact to get them high enough to make the playoffs.