Central Division Preview: Winnipeg Jets

Marianne Helm

We're taking a look at the teams in the newly revamped Central Division. Who are they? Who plays for them? How much booing should Predators fans be expected to rain down upon them? Today, we look at the most unfamiliar of newcomers: the Winnipeg Jets

Previous Season

9th in the Eastern Conference. Just barely missed winning the Southeast Division after Washington won 11 of their final 13 games. Of course, the fans in Winnipeg are happy to have the NHL back, so failing to make the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season doesn't hurt quite so bad:


2013 Season Stats

24-21-3 (51), GF & GF/G: 126, 2.62 (16th), GA & GA/G: 141, 2.94 (24th), PP: 13.8 % (30th), PK: 79.7% (24th)

Goaltending

Ondrej Pavelec: .907%, 2.95 Career GAA

Al Montoya: .906%, 2.77 Career GAA


Ondrej Pavelec

#31 / Goalie / Winnipeg Jets

6-3

220

Aug 31, 1987

Pavelec may be one of the only goalies that is considered both overrated and underrated. The guy isn't ever going to win the Vezina, (and if he does, you're welcome, Winnipeg) but he knows how to keep pucks out of the net. If I were a Jets fan, I'd be more worried about the team in front of him. Montoya only appeared in 7 games for the Jets last year, but hopefully he's gotten over this by now.

Notable Additions

Frolik is a former 20 goal scorer, but hasn't reached that mark since being traded to the Hawks from the Panthers in 10-11. Dealing a 2nd-round pick for budding journeyman Setoguchi should help the team. If he meshes, he will provide a helpful scoring boost that seemed to fail with their Olli Jokinen experiment.

Players You Should Know

Kane, the 4th overall pick in 2009, is a threat every time he is out on the ice. Former Blackhawk Andrew Ladd led the club in scoring last year, while Blake Wheeler led the club in goals. Wheeler isn't by any means a flashy name, but he will burn your team when you least want him to. Byfuglien and Enstrom lead a rather underwhelming defense corps.

Rivalry Potential

3 Weber Smashes

Webersmash_medium Webersmash_medium Webersmash_medium

Time will tell how these teams play against each other. There is a bit of unfamiliarity between the two clubs, and it's possible both teams underperform this year. The X Factor is the crowd which packs the seats in each of the arenas, some of which might still be a bit bitter.

Playoff Team?

No. There's still too much Atlanta in them, and Winnipeg fans are finding that out the hard way. They couldn't hold on last season in the Southeast, and this division is proving tougher as almost every team has done something to get better. While it's certainly possible they could surprise everyone, I really don't think they are one of the top 3 (or 4) teams in this division.

Game Dates vs Nashville

Date Visitor Home Time (Central)
Sun Oct 20, 2013 Nashville Winnipeg 7:00 PM
Thu Oct 24, 2013 Winnipeg Nashville 7:00 PM
Fri Nov 8, 2013 Nashville Winnipeg 7:00 PM
Tue Jan 28, 2014 Nashville Winnipeg 7:00 PM
Sat Mar 1, 2014 Winnipeg Nashville 2:00 PM

Sites to Follow

Besides our SB Nation friends at Arctic Ice Hockey, you'll want to keep up with Illegal Curve & the Winnipeg Free Press.

More from On the Forecheck:

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