Now that the trade winds have settled and the Winnipeg Jets for better or worse have their roster pretty much set going forward for the rest of the 2018-19 season, now might be a good time to take a moment, put on your arm-chair coaches hat and figure out just what kinds of forward lines and defensive pairings the Jets should run with for the stretch drive to the playoffs.
Last night with new additions Kevin Hayes and Nathan Beaulieu joining the club, Paul Maurice ran these lines against the Minnesota Wild.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) February 26, 2019
Seeing Perreault up with the second line while Connor dropped down was a bit of a surprise and while some media member tweeted out during that morning’s skate that the TLC line was the Jets third option, it was likely more fitting as the fourth line.
(Also, can we appreciate for a moment that it wasn’t that long ago that the Jets would have one good line and then “three fourth lines” or even worse? Lowry/Tanev/Copp could be a legit third if not second line for a handful of NHL clubs right now.)
If Hayes really is a “pass first” player then would it not make sense to have a trigger man like Laine on his line? Connor/Scheifele/Wheeler has been good for the most part so maybe that didn’t need to be split up now that the Jets have a legit second center option.
Perreault with Little and Roslovic on the third line? That would work, could it not?
The forward group looks pretty good here, it might need tinkering but overall there is a lot to work with here and be excited for.
The defense? Oof. That’s another story…
The injuries to Byfuglien and Morrissey – the Jets two best defensemen by the way – are damn near crippling to this team. Beaulieu had a nice debut last night, but he was also with Jacob Trouba who has had his own ups and downs this season, but overall remains one of the Jets most reliable defenders.
Kulikov and Myers have looked good in the past, but since Kulikov’s return, something has felt very “off” about that pairing. They’ve had ill-advised pinches, they’ve gone out of position to try and make defensive plays, their puck handling (especially in the case of Kulikov) has been suspect.
Chiarot and Niku showed a little bit of promise against the Wild last night, but both are prone to bad reads and defensive mistakes.
We don’t know when Big Buff will be back (could be in a week, could be longer) and we know for sure both Joe Morrow is out for another week or two while Morrissey may not be back until the start of the playoffs. Bogdan Kiselevich will also get a look, but who he will replace in the lineup and how he’ll be used is up for debate at the moment.
And then there is goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck is returning to form it would seem and not a moment too soon, but how much of a work load should he get over the next month? How many games do you give Laurent Brossoit?
JetsNation, today’s WWYDW is about you putting on your coaches hat and drawing up lines. What are your ideal forward lines? How do you handle the defense and what should the pairings be? Don’t forget the goalies as well!