This is part seven of our 20 in 20 series, where we are looking at 20 different lineup combinations in 20 days.
The first few parts of this series looked at specific positions in the lineup to determine who might fill certain roles for the upcoming season. Part six was unique as it focused on the decision between loading one line with the best scorers or distributing the talent throughout the lineup.
Part seven will be similar to part six in the sense that we will examine two different ways to structure the roster as a whole. Today’s lineup combinations will be based upon two major trains of thought when discussing roster composition, size and speed.
Although size and speed are not mutually exclusive (look at Blake Wheeler), today’s combinations will try to put the biggest lines together in the first situation, and the speediest together in the second.
SCENARIO THIRTEEN: Buff Relives His Forward Days
Byfuglien – Lowry – Wheeler
Lemieux – Scheifele – Laine
Connor – Copp – Roslovic
Tanev – Little – Ehlers
Fun Factor: 8/10
It wasn’t too long ago that Dustin Byfuglien was a forward in the NHL. Flipping back and forth seemingly every season in his late Chicago and early Winnipeg days, it wasn’t until Paul Maurice came to town that Byfuglien became a full time defensemen. Since that final switch to the back end, Byfuglien has performed admirably as a defensemen and found the position best suited towards his talents.
Even though Byfuglien is very unlikely to move back to a forward role, it would be tragic if I didn’t mention Byfuglien’s name at least once over a span of 20 different line combinations. For this reason, big Buff appears on the number one line for the size lineup. Byfuglien was the only defensemen mentioned because he is the only one with forward experience, even though Myers comes in as the tallest Jet.
As for the actual look of the lines, the top line with Byfuglien, Lowry, and Wheeler would be tons of fun to watch. They would be great at keeping possession in the offensive end and would be able to wear down virtually any defensive pairing with their physicality.
The second line would be really interesting because Lemieux is on the bubble to make the team but might fit in well alongside Scheifele and Laine. Lemieux scored well with the Moose last season after putting up 43 points in only 51 games. His physical presence might fit well with Scheifele and Laine’s skill.
The third line is something that we could actually see this upcoming year. The trio would fit together nicely with Copp chipping in more offensively, but still leading on the defensive end as well.
The fourth line would most likely struggle with Ehlers being the most skilled player by a wide margin. Little would struggle to keep up with Ehlers and Tanev, but Tanev would also be a poor fit along Ehlers who likes to carry the puck on his stick. Tanev struggles to keep possession and prefers to dump the puck in while Ehlers likes to carry the puck through neutral ice. Their contrasting styles would lead to a line that isn’t on the same page.
SCENARIO FOURTEEN: VROOM VROOM
Ehlers – Scheifele – Wheeler
Connor – Roslovic – Lemieux
Tanev – Petan – Dano
Perreault – Copp – Laine
Fun Factor: 9/10
This combination was created partially by my own eye test and partially by the Jets own fastest skater competition.
Ehlers holds the Jets record for fastest skater which comes as no surprise. Scheifele was also the fastest skater on the team back in 2013 and Wheeler showcases his speed around the rink on a daily basis.
This line would be terrific offensively and would thrive off their speed. Ehlers and Wheeler would find great chemistry and likely propel Ehlers to a new career high in goals. In terms of neutral zone play, Ehlers was already near the top of the league (6th) in controlled zone entries, and that number would likely climb even higher with Scheifele and Wheeler as linemates.
The second line includes the top three fastest skaters from this past year’s Jets skills competition. Lemieux won the event while Roslovic and Connor actually tied for second. This line would also be extremely fast and would be great offensively. The idea of Roslovic and Connor is intriguing and adding Lemieux solidifies the Moose connection.
The third line would be interesting. There are arguments to be made that none of these three will make the starting roster out of training camp. But when sorted by speed, all three of these players need to be in the lineup.
The fourth line would be very dangerous even if they aren’t the fastest players on the team. Perreault and Laine certainly aren’t slow but they can’t quite keep up with the likes of Ehlers or Roslovic. Laine specifically has a slow first step, but his top speed is actually fairly strong.
There is no way this combination would actually come to fruition, especially with Little and Lowry being scratched, but it would give the Jets one of the fastest lineups in the league.
As always, let me know your thoughts! Who do you think the fastest Jets are? Who are actually the slowest among them? Once again, submit your lineup combination on Twitter and you might get featured in a later post!