After an amazing run that saw the Winnipeg Jets make it to the Western Conference Finals, the Jets are looking to take the next step in the 2018-19 season and go for the Stanley Cup. The roster assembled is almost the same as last seasons, with one difference: a fiery passion that will fan into flame as the team looks to take the Jets farther.
Some of the contributors at JetsNation answered two simple questions: “Why are you excited about the Jets this season?” and “Which Jet are you looking forward to see play the most?”
Why are you excited about the Jets this season?
Cam: I’m excited because I feel like the Jets have unfinished business. The majority of the team is still in place, with players like Ehlers, Laine and Morrissey potentially taking another step in their development. The Jets are also fun to watch because of the skill and speed they have.
Winston: The Jets were a 114 point team last year. Matt Hendricks played 60 games. The Jets roster will undeniably be better this year. Just consider the bottom six. You have an elite defensive line that can play against anyone. They were one of the most effective lines in the NHL last year. Then you have an offensive line with a 29 goal scorer in Ehlers and a young sophomore who put up the best P/60 on the team last year, in Roslovic. This bottom six is arguably better than many teams top six. Not to mention, the Jets have one of the best top six forward groups in the league. They are stacked, and if you’re a Jets fan who’s not excited about the season, you should check your pulse.
Cassie: To me, it feels like the Jets feel jilted and want to go further. The Western Conference finals aren’t good enough and they feel they can go all the way. I want to see the young guys growing and getting better, making the team even better. This is a fun team to watch with all the talent there is.
Sean: The Jets go into this season as a league favourite. As a long time Winnipeg sports fan we have not been able to say that much. You could say this is the first time since the Jets became an NHL franchise, and let’s not even get into the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The team looks strong and more importantly should be fun to watch. Can’t wait to see if they live up to their potential.
Kyle: I am excited because the Jets actually have expectations. In other years it was frustrating to know that the Jets weren’t going to challenge for playoffs or weren’t going to make a run when in the playoffs. This year the Jets have a legitimate shot and I think the city will be buzzing all year.
Art: Because I know this is going to be a season of entertaining fast paced hockey. It’s one thing to think that the Jets will be successful, but that success could – and has been in the past by other teams – be done by focusing on defensive play first or leaning on goaltending. I was a Dallas Stars fan through 1999 and 2000 and while it was winning hockey, it was grind-it-out defense first hockey under Ken Hitchcock and not always the most enjoyable to sit through. These Jets are high event hockey. They are going to give up chances but they are also going to get plenty of scoring chances of their own and they’ll capitalize on it. It should be fun to watch most nights and I’m here for it.
Which Jet are you looking forward to see play the most?
Cam: Mark Scheifele. He has become such a school of the game, that he consistently improves every season. He has become an elite play driver and elite scorer.
Winston: Patrik Laine. If you’ve been to Bell MTS place, you understand what it’s like to watch Laine shoot the puck live. The crowd literally starts cheering as soon as a pass comes across the seam to him and with good reason. Patrik Laine is the best goal scorer in hockey and he’s going to prove it this year. The question isn’t if he scores 50. The question is if he scores 60.
Cassie: Blake Wheeler. That man is aging like a fine wine at this point and I want to see if he can continue the pace he had last year. He has his big contract and now it’s time to live up to that contract.
Sean: There are a lot of good options here and I’m going to go with Nik Ehlers. The skilled Dane has provided a lot to Winnipeg the last few years but I think he is still waiting for a true breakout season. He has the skill to be this team’s second or third option it’s just a matter of if he can take that step and do it every night. When he is going and the hands and feet are moving there are few on this team more exciting.
Kyle: Vesalainen is the guy that I really want to see this year. It’s always exciting to see rookies making an impact like Connor and Roslovic last year. I think Vesalainen can be dangerous every game and it’s going to be fun watching him progress throughout the year.
Art: Connor Hellebuyck. I know he hasn’t had the most impressive pre-season but we said the same thing at this time last year about him. As long as the Jets limit how much cross-ice passing he’ll see from other teams, his style of playing big with proper angles and little body movement will continue to serve him well and there should be no reason why he isn’t considered a Vezina candidate by the end of the season.
The season is near. The roster is all but set. You’re ready for hockey to get rolling and so are we. Tell us in the comments below or on either our Twitter feed or Facebook page why you’re excited for the Jets.