The Winnipeg Jets will kick off their preseason against the Minnesota Wild at 7 pm local time, and it will be the first time fans will get to watch Nikolaj Ehlers at the MTS centre. In addition to watching at the arena, many will be able to watch the game on the new TSN3.
The Jets are icing a lineup that includes a few newcomers, and fan favourites, which seems to be the norm for the first preseason home game around the league. Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom headline the fan favourites, while fans will also be excited to watch prospects Ehlers, Nic Petan and Josh Morrissey.
The first preseason game is a tell-tale night where prospects get to realize the difference in pace at the NHL level. It will be a first for Ehlers and will especially determine if he is NHL-ready now or if a few seasons of development are in his future.
The Winnipeg Jets official website has not released any information, and the lineup card was brought to you by the Facebook group: Fans of the Winnipeg Jets. No goalies have been determined.
It’s interesting to see Thorburn playing with Perreault and Ehlers, considering that spot in the lineup (playing alongside Perreault) could belong to Klingberg, Frolik or Galiardi. Not that the lineup should indicate much speculation, but it’s worth noting.
The top line is a good bet to start together when the season begins, and they should be the most noticeable group on the ice.
Enstrom and Bogosian are most likely to pair up together as the top pairing this season, but I think it would’ve been better to have seen the vets pair up with rookie defensemen like Morriseey and Kichton. Ellerby has a good shot at making the club’s starting lineup and playing with a rookie might help his cause.
Considering we don’t know who the goalies are, it’s hard to make a judgement call. A lot of teams have their de facto starters at least playing half the game, so I’m guessing Pavalec starts and maybe Comrie finishes.
The Wild will be icing a lineup that includes very little NHL talent, and feature mainly players that will spend the season in Houston with their AHL affiliate.
It’s not a lineup that will intimidate anybody,and that bodes well for the MTS faithful, because it looks like an easy win to start the preseason. The Wild are a great development team and their depth at every position is among the NHL’s best. These nobodies and youngsters could surprise, but NHL talent will always prevail.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Jets club with more NHL talent will walk away from their home arena with their heads held high after defeating the mini-Wild 5-2, while controlling the play for the majority of the game.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Ladd-Little-Byfuglien line combines for three of the Jets five goals, and then are split up for the rest of the game to try and balance out the scoring and talent amongst the roster.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nikolaj Ehlers scores his first goal of the preseason with a wicked wrister past Ilya Bryzgalov. Post-game comments from Bryzgalov are a hoot as he mentions he will never eat a danish again because of the nightmares that shot will cause him to have. Bears are no longer the thing that scares Bryz the most anymore…