2

JN AirMail: Laine’s Not Ready? Who Is Ready?

More questions about players in camp and the defense in this week’s edition of Air Mail, as well as a great question from Nation Dan about which players we’d take from the other Central division teams which had me thinking the Jets should just go ahead and make their own super-team a-la the Golden State Warriors. Salary Cap be damned!

Answering your most pressing questions today are Cassie M, Cam F, Winston B and myself GameTime A. Make sure you give them (and well me also) a follow on the ol Twitter machine.

And remember if you have any questions about the Jets, about hockey in general or really about anything that comes to mind (baseball playoffs perhaps?) then drop us a mention on our Twitter page and include the #JNAirMail hashtag so we don’t miss it!

Cassie: I don’t think it dictates much, if at all. Last year on opening night, that was the 3rd pairing and it stayed that way for quite a bit. I think Myers is going to be pushed up because he’s willing to play on his offside and we need an Enstrom replacement, which was something not addressed in the offseason. We might see some good young defense go back to the AHL simply so that no one is lost on waivers and not because they’re not good. That’s a long way of saying, nah, it’s not money or management. It’s a place of need.

Art: Like Cassie, I don’t believe Maurice considers contracts when putting together his lineups and I don’t feel as though Chevy or ownership is telling the coaching staff that certain players have to play. That said, I do wonder if there is a little bit of a group effort by both coaches and management to get Kulikov out there and show what he can do – either in an effort to get some value out of his deal, or to showcase him for a possible trade.

Cam: No, because Paul Maurice legitimately thinks that Myers is good enough to play top four minutes on his offside, which he has never consistently done in his career. The Jets defense will depend on Kulikov being able to play big minutes on the left. As well, hopefully Sami Niku takes a step and Maurice lets Niku take that step.

Winston: Kulikov and Myers played on the 3rd pair for the most part last season and I hope to see that again this year.

Cassie: If you mean Patrik Laine, then a lot of media. The team had a long season last year and for someone who is only 20 years old, that can be tiring. I wouldn’t be shocked if there was some resting involved. I don’t think there is anything to be concerned with though. I’m sure he trained and just didn’t flaunt it on social media.

Art: Let’s not forget that this kid is harder on himself than anyone else could possibly be. This is someone who will go a few games without a goal and proclaim it to be a slump. I don’t think anyone can question his off-season workout, nor should they be alarmed by his statement. I’d wager his version of “not ready” is “better than I’ve ever been” for 75% of the players in the league.

Cam: *Checks to see what time of year it is* Oh, it’s preseason? Not worried. If this was December, then maybe I would be worried.

Cassie: Ooof, this is a hard one. I think I’d want Josi from Nashville, Seguin from Dallas (if only for the rock/paper/scissors every game), Granlund from Minnesota, MacKinnon from Colorado, DeBrincat from Chicago, and O’Reilly from St. Louis.

Art: I’ve thought way too much about this. What are the Jets needs this season? I’ll take Roman Josi from Nashville and Ryan Suter from Minnesota to take care of my left handed defensemen depth issue. I’ll grab Nathan MacKinnon from Colorado to give me a prime second line center. From St. Louis I’ll pick Alex Pietrangelo who is an upgrade at right handed defense (enjoy the press box popcorn Myers) and I want to shore up the backup goalie spot so I’ll take Ben Bishop from Dallas. My last pick from Chicago is Jonathan Toews because – and I not many people know this – Toews is actually from Winnipeg and his homecoming story to win a Stanley Cup for the hometown Jets would be a great one.

Cam: Mathias Ekholm from Nashville, Granlund from Minnesota, Klingberg from Dallas, MacKinnon from Colorado, Tarasenko from St. Louis and DeBrincat from Chicago.

Cassie: I think that spot is Vesalainen’s to lose at this point. He’s looking really good to me and I’d like to see him succeed and nab the spot.

Art: On defence, I think Joe Morrow has earned a spot on the opening day lineup which maybe isn’t a huge surprise but I don’t think he was ahead of Chiarot or Kulikov before camp started. As for Vesalainen, I’d be shocked if he didn’t start the season on the main roster.

Cam: Petan and Vesalainen are both on the team. Vesalainen has looked pretty good, maybe more so than people thought he would. If our second line isn’t going to be as strong because of centre issues, having an offense oriented bottom six will be key.

Winston: I think the only surprise will be that the Lowry line will get closer to 2nd line minutes than 4th line minutes and continue to be amazing with them.