Last Season – Winnipeg finished 11th in the East with a record of 37-35-10. They missed the playoffs in their first year in Winnipeg, but the fans hardly noticed. They were just happy to have a team back.
Ready to Step In – Mark Scheifele is the Jets top prospect and started the season in Winnipeg as an 18 year old. Although not physically strong enough for NHL rigours, his offensive talents might keep him around this season.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Ondrej Pavelec‘s numbers weren’t exactly stellar, which is where people have expected him to be. A GAA nearing 3.oo is not good enough for a team in front of him that has problems scoring goals.
Hardware Hopefuls – Scheifele, Calder
Upside – The love affair of the fans will continue and there isn’t much pressure on the team to make the playoffs…yet. Should they accomplish that goal this year, they would be treated as even bigger heroes than they are now.
Downside – This is still a team that will work hard, but on many nights will have trouble scoring goals consistently. Without a true game-breaker (and Scheifele could eventually develop into one) the Jets will continue to try and score by committee.
2013 Prognosis – This year the Jets might take a step forward, but not likely into the playoffs. Just when they get settled into the race this year, they could find themselves staring into an even deeper chasm in the Western Conference in 2012-14.