When people make plans to grow and develop, they tend to usually make a five year plan. A five year plan is where you look at what you want to accomplish in five years, and you figure out what to do during those five years to get there. The Jets are a young developing team that look like they are ready to move on from a bottom feeder to a playoff hopeful. The five year plan method can be good for even the Winnipeg Jets.
The question is, what would the Winnipeg Jets five year plan be, and where will that lead?
The first year should be the season the Jets are competitive and make a push for a playoff spot. This season they have proven they are in year one by playing competitive hockey until the end of the season. A big plus is the development of all the youth in the Jets system. Even if the Jets just miss the playoffs, this year should still be viewed a success. Connor Hellebuyck made a huge jump and became the starting goalie in just his first full season with the Winnipeg Jets. Josh Morrissey has been a great surprise this season by not only coming up from the minors to play, but becoming a solid NHL player at such a young age. The season should be used to develop the young core and become competitive with those players leading the way. This season was just that with players like Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Hellebuyck all improving over last season. Rookies like Morrissey or Patrik Laine coming in this season and becoming major players instantly is a great bonus.
The second season should be the season the Jets make their way into the playoffs. The core players need to get the playoff experience at a young age to continue their growth in order to develop. All the great teams from the salary cap era have started out small by just making the playoffs to get some playoff games action under their belt. The struggle of just making the playoffs should help continue the development of these Winnipeg Jets. The Jets don’t have to do a whole lot once in the playoffs, as a successful second year would be the Jets just making the playoffs to further the growth of Hellebuyck, Scheifele, Trouba, Laine, and Morrissey.
These days its hard to expect a team only three years into their rebuild to win a Stanley Cup. The next step for the Jets will be to collect four playoff wins, which would put them in the second round. The Jets must build off the success of making the playoffs in year two with winning a round in year three. Making it through a round or two would show the Jets core what it will take to win in the playoffs. Once the Jets know how to win in the playoffs they can move on to becoming a cup contender.
This year will gauge how the rebuild is doing, as the Jets should make an appearance in the conference finals as their goal. Year four is the season were the Jets should look like a dangerous team after playoff mishaps in the past few seasons. Players like Scheifele, Trouba, and Laine should be among the leagues best with the Jets being one of the best teams in the league. The Jets franchise should be a team that can make a lot of noise once in the playoffs.
The fifth year should be the season the Jets are cup contenders. The skilled talent and the team growing together through playoff disappointments should payoff, and the Jets should go deep in the playoffs. Five years of building a team and keeping the core together, like what the Chicago Blackhawks have done, will only help come playoff time to go deep and win a Stanley Cup.
Five years might feel like a long time away for some, but with all the ups and downs of what will soon come it will be a ride we will all enjoy watching. The Jets should keep their young talent together and let them grow, that is why it is important to keep to a five year plan in order to develop the team. In five years the Winnipeg Jets should be a cup contenders with some of their players being among the best in the league.