The Winnipeg Jets made the move from Atlanta back to Winnipeg in 2011 after the Thrashers had been sold to the owners of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and the MTS center. The Jets finished their second season back in the NHL with a record of 24-21-3 and 51 total points. The Jets had a chance to make the playoffs and win their first division title since they made their return the Winnipeg. The Jets were unable to close their season, and lost the division lead to the Washington Capitals after a terrible last month of the season. The Jets couldn’t keep up with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals and lost the division and their shot at the playoffs by 6 points.
The defense in Winnipeg is a problem, and goalie Ondrej Pavelec hasn’t shown much progression over the years as a solid number one goalie. The defense could be a huge key to this, if Pavelec had enough help in front of him. Pavelec is a work horse, he started 43 of the 48 games this season, and played in 44. He finished the season with a record of 21-20-3. He had a goals against average of 2.80 and a save percentage of .905%.
The Jets were led by Black Wheeler’s 19 goals this season. Wheeler added 22 assists for a total of 41 points on the season. Andrew Ladd led the Jets with 28 assists and 46 total points. Winnipeg’s scoring mostly came from Wheeler, Ladd, and Evander Kane. the Jets don’t have the offensive depth to score, and they need help. The Jets went ahead and made an attempt at adding some offensive fire power when they traded for former Wild forward Devin Setoguchi.
Winnipeg held the league’s worst powerplay last year. The powerplay was absolutely horrendous, coming in at 13.8%. Setoguchi will be able to help out the offense a little bit, but the Jets powerplay has got to get better if they want to win games. The Jets penalty kill wasn’t much better. It ranked 24th in the NHL with a penalty kill of 79.9%. The Jets were able to stay out of the box for much of the season. They were the league’s second least penalized team.
The Jets have some work to do to bring their team into playoff contention, but I do believe they have a chance to make the playoffs next season. Winnipeg will be playing in, what I believe to be, a very weak division II. The Jets will be playing in a division with Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, and St. Louis next season.