With the NHL season just weeks away, PHR is looking at each team, in-depth. Today: the Winnipeg Jets.
Last Season: 35-39-8 (78 points), 7th place in the Central Division. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
Cap Space Remaining: $9.37MM via CapFriendly.
Key Departures: none
Key RFAs: Jacob Trouba – The two sides appear far apart on everything: money, term, and usage. Right now, Trouba is blocked on the right side by Dustin Byfuglien (who is set to begin a new five-year extension worth $7.6MM per season) and Tyler Myers. It will be interesting to see how the Jets proceed; they have the salary space to sign him but also have depth at the position, which gives them the upper hand. There has been some trade rumors surrounding Trouba, but those have been repeatedly shot down by those who cover the team.
Player to Watch: Patrik Laine – The Jets lucked out at the draft lottery, jumping for 6th overall to second and the chance to take Laine. There was even talk of the Maple Leafs selecting Laine over Auston Matthews, but that never materialized. Laine has been compared to Alex Ovechkin for his explosive release. Laine should be able to step in immediately and give the Jets a great second line. Expect 20+ goals and plenty of flash.
Key Storyline: Can the Jets young core avoid growing pains? With Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Laine, and Trouba all expected to play big roles this season, will they be able to use their skill to overcome relative inexperience? And in net, can one of Ondrej Pavelec, Michael Hutchinson, or Connor Hellebuyck step up and take over the number one job? The three netminders split the net pretty evenly last season, so the door is open for one to grab the reigns and run with it.