This week in “Jets Social Media Is Bored And Needs Something To Talk About” is the topic of who the Winnipeg Jets will have playing at center on their second line which really isn’t a bad topic to ponder a bit as there are a few different ways the team could go. Not unlike the question of how would you split up Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, how Paul Maurice decides to work with the second line center spot could dictate how the rest of the forward lines are built.
This talk of the 2C position was mostly sparked by a bit of a rant / analysis from NHL Network’s Mike Kelly over the weekend, who in discussing how the Jets could get Patrik Laine going suggested that maybe he should be put on a line with Blake Wheeler and that Wheeler plays at center. (Skip to 2:13 to see Kelly’s lines)
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 24, 2019
Blake Wheeler has spent the majority of his 11 year NHL career as a winger, but if you recall during the 2017-18 season when Mark Scheifele missed a large chunk of time due to injury, Wheeler did play center between Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine and did a respectable job as a setup man for the two young wings, but it wasn’t perfect either. Wheeler does struggle with transition defense at times and in the center position, that’s one area the Jets need players they can rely on. Wheeler’s faceoff ability is almost non-existent as well and it’s not exactly something that gets better with a couple weeks of training camp.
But, yes, Wheeler at center is an option.
So are Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry.
Copp has primarily been a wing on Lowry’s line the last couple of seasons, but he is a natural center and has played the position since his days in Michigan. He’s also shown steady growth as an offensive player and if put with a couple of talented players like Laine and Ehlers his numbers could skyrocket as he helps provide a good all-around complement to two dynamic offensive players.
Adam Lowry could be thought of much the same way as we’ve never really seen him play with anyone – outside of Mathieu Perreault perhaps – that could complement any offensive skills, nor has Lowry been ever tasked to be the center of a line that is depended on to score goals.
Jack Roslovic’s name has also come up over the last little while as a possible answer to the second line center question as this season will be a bit of a make-or-break year for the kid. Given the talk earlier this summer that he was frustrated over his role last season and is looking for more ice time and a better opportunity, it wouldn’t hurt to give him some second line looks in the pre-season and maybe early on in the regular season as well.
Or, the Jets could just try Bryan Little. Again. For the third season in a row. And then somehow hope they don’t have to go out at the trade deadline and shop for yet another second line center.
What’s that saying about “those who don’t learn from history…” again?
But with that being said, maybe a trade early on in the season is an idea? Would you go looking outside of the Jets organization for your answer at 2C? Maybe you dangle a Dmitry Kulikov, or Mathieu Perreault (wait, he can play center as well..) or even Nik Ehlers if you really want a top level center. (On a related note: don’t trade Nik Ehlers)
So this week’s WWYDW is about the Jets second line center. If you’re in charge of the Jets, who would you have fill that spot in the lineup? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section or on either our Twitter feed or Facebook page!