by Timothy Bonnar

1. Depth on the blue line.

The Winnipeg Jets boast one of the strongest and deepest defensive groups in the NHL. Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tobias Enström would be in the mix for top pair ice on most NHL teams. A resurgent Tyler Myers adds further depth and a big scoring threat.

These top-end players are complemented by a deep depth chart of "good enough" players. Ben Chiarot came on as a rookie and proved he belonged and while Mark Stuart is a source of frustration for many, he wasn’t so bad that Trouba couldn’t carry him. Below that, Paul Postma and Adam Pardy have historically done well in soft minutes and Josh Morrissey will be fighting to steal some ice. Defensive depth is definitely a plus for this team.

2. Ladd and Little.

Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little remain the backbone of this team. They are strong two-way players and they remain among the Jets’ most productive. Many fans seem to forget that Ladd has led this team in scoring twice in the last three seasons. Better yet, he’s done this while taking on the best the opposition has to offer and logging big minutes on the PK. Ladd, along with Little, is extremely underrated -- even in Winnipeg. They are both really good at hockey.

3. So. Much. Prospect. Depth.

Volumes of prospects is probably the next best thing the Jets have going for them. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has been taking a lot of heat for leaving roster spots open for kids, but which kids is yet to be determined. Nikolaj Ehlers won’t be gifted a spot. He will have to beat out the likes of Nicolas Petan and Joel Armia to earn top nine ice. Prospect depth is a big factor here, and while risky, it does provide much in the way of upside.


by Timothy Bonnar

1. The men in the nets.

Goaltending will be an issue until it isn't. That said, it really wasn’t an issue last year, but questions remain unanswered. How good is Michael Hutchinson? He was solid as a rookie, but he doesn’t have much of an NHL résumé. And while Ondrej Pavelec had himself a career year, history suggests that he isn’t actually very good.

2. Chris Thorburn.

Now, I’m not trying to pick on Thorburn. His is OK as far as bad (NHL) hockey players go, but he has been pushed into roles that are well above his skill level year after year. Last year, Thorburn spent a lot of time on the third line with Adam Lowry. The year prior he spent far too much time actually playing in the top six. Thorburn won’t make or break this team, but the team is already broken if we see him in the top six again.

3. Inexperience.

Youth presents a great opportunity and plenty of upside, but it also presents a big risk. There is always a chance that things won’t go well with the rookies. This is a big gamble, and one we won’t be able to audit till the season ends.


1. Will Ondrej Pavlec and Michael Hutchinson replicate their goaltending performance of 2014-15?
2. How many prospects will make the NHL jump this year?
3. How will the Jets deal with pending RFA's including Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien?

Get the answers at Arctic Ice Hockey.


by Timothy Bonnar

The best-case scenario for the Winnipeg Jets is that they receive incredible, top-six worthy play from a rookie and said rookie helps propel them to a better finish than the year before. Fans have been told that this year is the start of a youth movement, but ideally they will want to see the youth move the team in a positive direction.


by Timothy Bonnar

Regression probably wouldn’t qualify as a worst case for the Jets, unless it happens due to the young players playing their way off the team. Youth will be key in moving this team forward. The Jets need Nikolaj Ehlers to turn into a stud. They need Mark Scheifele to play his way into a top line role. They need a dominant year from Jacob Trouba. Stagnation or a step back from key youth would be a worst case for this year and potentially the long term.