Winnipeg Jets contenders or pretenders

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Last week on 705 Sports, Dan Gray and I took a good look at the Winnipeg Jets. We were trying to determine if this team is a Stanley cup contender or a Stanley Cup pretender. To do this we must go over 3 major areas for this team and these are forwards, defense, and goaltending.

The roster

The roster

When you look at the Jets roster there are a few players that should jump out right away as difference makers and they are Scheifele, Connor, Ehlers, Wheeler and Copp. These are the team’s top 5 forwards. They will need to have a great season for this team to have success.

Dubois is another player that myself and Jets fans alike will be watching. He didn’t have a good year last season at all. Dubois never seemed to fit into this roster and it showed on the ice. If Dubois can turn it around this season he can make the Jets top 2 lines deadly.

The Jets do have a decent bottom 6 group as well. This team is very deep at the center position, something every playoff team needs if they want to go on a cup run. The bottom 6 group also has some great veteran leadership with Stastny, Lowry, and Nash. All 3 of these players have had deep playoff runs, a leadership quality any team needs.

The rest of the 3rd and 4th liners consists of younger players, all under the age of 28. These players are more unknown however they provide a nice balance between youth and veterans on this team.

The defense is where I start to see issues. This team is missing that number 1 defenseman that when the chips are down  will get the job done. Morrisey, Schmidt, and Stanley are the teams 3 top defenders; however, they would all have trouble cracking the top 4 on good teams.

Goaltending may end up being their saving grace on the back end with Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck is the type of goalie who can, and will, steal games for his team. Connor is always in the conversation for the Vezina trophy, which is awarded to the best goaltender in the NHL. Hellebuyck can and will need to be outstanding once again with this team’s sub par back end.

Final verdict

When you look at the Jets you see a team that will be able to score with most if not all lines. They have goaltending that can and will keep the team in games. However, their defense is just not strong enough. They are lacking that big, tough and overall hard to play against defender.  I feel this team will battle for a playoff spot but will not make a cup run unless they make some changes. If Dubois isn’t having a good season again, you might see him moved for a top 4 defenseman . But, that’s another topic for another day.

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