Jets Lines Preview: Ladd’s Little Wheeler re-uinited, and it just feels right

The regular season is just over the horizon. Most teams have made the final touches to their roster and practicing in the lines we’ll see for the start of the season.

The Winnipeg Jets are one such team with their opening roster’s lines looking set, provided injuries do not change things.

We’ll preview the season by looking at some of the lines for the Jets, next up comes the Jets top line.

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Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

The trio of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler are a bit of a known commodity. In fact, they are one of the most commonly used trios in the past 5 seasons. I crowd surfed Twitter, asking some of the most common three-man forward units were, and only one ended up with more minutes than Ladd’s Little Wheeler: the Sedin twins with Burrows.

The interesting thing about Ladd, Little, Wheeler is that they’ve performed quite well as a trio, but there are many who view it as a “good second line on a contender team.”

Here are the Jets top line over the past five seasons versus some of the other most commonly used top lines:

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While the Jets do not have the fortunate advantage of a generational talent like Crosby, or elite two-way talents like Kopitar or Toews, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.

While they may not be the best trio in the entire NHL, they can trade punches with the best. The greatest advantage though is that they can give almost as solid results, but far cheaper. The Jets trio comes with a combined Cap Hit of only 14.7 million dollars.

If Andrew Ladd received a pay raise all the way to 6 million, that would still only place the line at 16.3 million a year on average.

Not all of these lines have been leaned on as heavily as the Jets in the past. Historically the Jets have run very much as a one-line-plus-Evander-Kane team.

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Deployment factors are sometimes over exaggerated, they are still real. The deeper a team, the better individuals will perform. Even improvements outside of the Jets top line improves Ladd, Little, and Wheeler. Fatigue, line matching, zone deployment, and other factors will all play a role.

Another factor is systems. Most of Ladd, Little, and Wheeler’s time together exist away from Paul Maurice’s time as the Jets coach. Maurice has proven to impact the Jets results in a positive manner relative to his predecessors.

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The Jets once again re-unite their top line of Ladd’s Little Wheeler. It may only be temporary as Maurice likes to make Wheeler “harder to find” but that is how we will start the season.

Once again one of the league’s most tenured forward trios re-unite; however, this time on a very different Jets team.

More Jets’ Lines Preview:

  • X

    Maurice’s opening night lines have made me optimistic about this season. LLW is a big part of that.

    That Oilers line in the top-line combo table is predictably hilarious. RNH is the single NHLer that will benefit most from McDavid landing in the NHL.

  • X

    I’d love to be a GM now with Stempniak and Glencross cheap. Jets look good for a series win with Burmistrov.
    CFL’s Westwood wannabe would’ve been 2nd or 3rd. But only 2nd in league next to the Bomber’s worst nightmare. I was 6th in toughness and outdoor survival skills. 1st in creativity and ethics always. Apparently even my study discipline is inferior to Yzerman and Toews’s discipline….
    Colorado and Phi look like sleeper teams. Wings look good.

  • X

    They said if you combine research and sports, and I like to since lower income upbringing doesn’t leave you with any great personal role models, Yzerman is 3rd alive in measuring discipline, and Toews is 8th (9th if you count reading behind a religious scholar). I’m 80th and was 130th 53 weeks ago….I like to watch too much sports I suppose.
    …When I’m fast my moderate punches stun her. When she is fast and I don’t lose my temper or it isn’t stopped for health reasons, she opens up cuts on my eyes and the swelling or the blood eventually obstructs my visions enough to lose. I figure out right away to throw punches to keep her from getting inside; around the 3rd elbow to the eyes is when I start to not respect the rules. But if I do I throw 1000. I’m in trouble if