32 Teams In 32 Days: Winnipeg Jets
Building through the draft can only take you so far....
In Today’s 32 Team outlook we look at the Winnipeg Jets and their methodical approach to team building.
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If you asked me which team in the NHL excites me the least right now, based on both short-term and long-term outlooks, it would definitely be the Winnipeg Jets.
It’s not because they are bad, or completely lacking in talent, or because they do not have at least some reasons for optimism. Because there are several teams worse off this season and in future seasons, and there is a pretty strong and easily identifiable core of players here.
They have a great goalie (Conor Hellebuyck) that can make them a nightmare to play against in a single game or playoff series if they get there.
Kyle Connor has rapidly developed into one of the league’s best goal scorers and offensive players, while the rest of the lineup at the top has a couple of impact players. Their top four or five forwards (Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois), along with a top-tier goalie, should be the foundation of a pretty good team and it is enough to keep them out of the league’s basement.
But that is where the good things tend to come to an end.
They lack top-pairing defenders, they are not particularly deep, and they do not have a very imaginative or aggressive front office that has proven capable of fixing the team’s flaws.
The result is a team that consistently sits comfortably in the no-mans land of mediocrity, far away from Stanley Cup contention but above the lottery teams.
Since relocating to Winnipeg from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season (more than a decade ago) the Jets have had the same voice and vision at the top in general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, and it is getting awfully difficult to keep ignoring the overall lack of results and less-than-inspiring long-term potential.
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