Welcome to the Jets Nation Round Table. August is almost here and hockey is on the horizon. Until then, we must learn to live in the in-between.
Take a read after the break and feel free to put your thoughts in the comments!
How many points do you think Patrik Laine will score?
Garret: I don’t think Laine will start on the top power play unit and will take a while to be used there. My guess is that the Finn will score a bit higher rate than Nikolaj Ehlers, but not significantly. I will hazard a guess of the mid-to-high 40s. (Note: no stats; just gutalytics)
Cody B: 100! Ok let’s be realistic. Laine is a high end player and will get even more opportunities to play big minutes and with good players than Ehjlers did last season. I think we can expect 20 goals and 30 assists. I think he will hit 50.
Cammers: There’s no reason to think 40-50 points aren’t a reasonable expectation for Laine. All signs point to him being an elite scorer. This all depends on how well he adjusts to the NHL.
Mack: If he breaks 50 points, it’ll be because he’s thriving on the powerplay – like Jack Eichel did last year for the Sabres.
Which line do you think is going to face harder competition: Bryan Little’s or Mark Scheifele’s?
Garret: For the past five seasons it’s been Little by a large margin. I don’t think that changes quite yet, unless Little gets placed between two rookies, like Kyle Connor and Laine.
Cody B: It could very well depend on the night, and the style of the opposition. It also hinges on the wingers that play with Scheifele and Little. I think that with the way last season ended, and with Scheifele getting warmed up at the World Cup, he will be the one getting the toughest assignment.
Mack: Depends who they’re playing with. Little has a stronger two-way game, though, and would likely do better in a tough-usage second line role.
Cammers: I think Scheifele will get the harder assignment. He proved last season that he can play as a number 1 centre and I would not be surprised to see him continue his excellent play from the end of last season.
Do you feel better about the Jets’ line up going into this season as opposed to the 2015-16 season?
Garret: Long term I feel better for them and their forward depth is closer to peak 2014-15 levels, but short term there are still some large question marks on the team in net, the third pair, and special teams.
Cody B: No. I would say I feel the same. Last season I had optimism that the youth would be able to step up. It was clear that they weren’t quite there yet. With even more youth this year and more new players I think there will be more pain before it gets better. The Jets do have improved depth, and now finally high end potential in Patrik Laine, so I am more optimistic about the long term than short term.
Mack: Yeah, I feel a lot better about the Jets’ lineup this summer than last. Adding Laine is huge, and the Jets can reasonably expect improvement from Ehlers and Trouba.
Cammers: Other than not addressing holes on defence, I think the Jets are in a better situation overall heading into this season. Having a couple of fresh faces playing forward will do wonders, especially from a depth perspective. A lot of people are talking about Scheifele, Laine, Connor and Ehlers, but don’t forget about Marko Dano.
Are you surprised at some of the free agents still available?
Garret: For some (Wisniewski, Vrbata, Boyle, Hudler). They are not game changing players anymore, but they are worthy of contracts… but not like surprised-surprised.
Cody B: Not really. There always seems to be some decent players available late into the summer. Most will find homes before the puck drops. I doubt the Jets will grab any of them.
Mack: I can’t believe Kris Russell still hasn’t been signed. That honestly shocks me. Other than that, not that surprised at all.
Cammers: I’m not surprised that all of the semi-gamechanging players are signed. However, there are players who could provide a good depth role for a team that are not signed.