The Jets have built themselves quite the franchise in the last few years, having some fortunes shine upon them at the entry draft and in making some key deals here and there. Now that they have made it to the Western Conference Finals, one would have to assume that they are truly hungry for more and better results.
This team is overflowing with talent and the ability to finish in the offensive end and when Connor Hellebuyck finally found his footing as a number one goalie in the NHL, the Jets were very close to being unstoppable. Of course, the Vegas Golden Knights found a way, but it was a very hard fought series to make it through to the finals and the Jets are well-equipped to make it back to that point and beyond this season.
For us hockey poolies, the Jets are going to be a very popular side and they will go fast. The opening round could be very pro-Winnipeg and the argument to be that way will be very strong. It will be the deep parts of the draft, which could be a great time to find some of the Jets' depth, however, which could in turn win you your pool. These guys have depth and that will make all the difference in the world.
Table last updated on August 13th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
This year could be the year! I think we're all impatiently waiting for Patrik Laine to hit the 50-goal plateau in his career and this could be the season to do it. Laine defied the sophomore slump, improving upon his rookie season in goals and points and the sky seems to be the limit for this kid.
The Winnipeg trigger man potted 44 goals last season and it feels like only a matter of time before he hits the celebrated milestone in the regular season. The 20-year old has the right players playing around him and he has put his stake in the office, where the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos have made their living and achieved 50+ goals in their careers.
First Round Picks
There are just so many teams that one could be really excited about, heading into the 2019 season and the Winnipeg Jets are one of those teams, having three guys, maybe even four, that could potentially touch down in the opening round of the draft. The three of note are Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, who all seem like bonafide picks up there, while you could probably name one or two more that could get a good look there.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
Among the rest of the forwards, you'll find Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry creeping his way into the conversation this year. The Jets are going to be a deep side in 2019 and they will certainly give teams like Nashville, Vegas or San Jose a great run for their money.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
The defense group here is also very strong, led by Dustin Byfuglien once again, he will be leaned upon to have another heavy year. Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers were both very good for the team down the stretch last season and their roles have increased, as their health has improved over the last year.
There's a new number two on the roster right now, Laurent Brossoit, the former Oilers keeper. He seems to be the current front-runner for the job, but I would imagine the Jets may still kick some tires on what else is out in the free agent market before settling in camp. Right now, it's Brossoit and I don't see him getting the points we need, even as a last resort goalie.
Team to Pick From Late?
If this team scores in bundles, like they are expected to, then yes, you should really keep your eye out for some late round Jets players. Even their crop of bubble players isn't too bad and could be cause for some extra studying around.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Jets do have one more pool worthy free agent worth looking out for, as we head towards training camp and that would be defenseman Josh Morrissey. The 23-year old had a good 2018 campaign and is now in need of a new deal, but like a few others in the same boat, there is a good debate about bridge and long-term. The Jets still have $8.5 million in cap space this year, but it will be the number moving forward, which probably has them just as or more concerned.
Back problems hampered Dmitry Kulikov for a good portion of last season and surgery was deemed to be required, shortly after the team's exit from the playoffs. The summer should have been enough for his recovery and he is expected to be ready to go for training camp and if he is indeed healthy, he could be a good player to pick late on in the draft.