Four and a half BOLD Winnipeg Jets predictions for 2023-24
Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
By Angus Hout14 days ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! Preseason NHL hockey starts this month, thank Gord for that. It’s been a good summer for Winnipeg Jets fans. Yeah we’re still wanting to see something happen with Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele but we got to see a change-up in the Jets forward group. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler have new rinks to call home and we get to welcome Gabriel Vilardi, Rasmus Kupari, and Alex Iafallo to Winnipeg. I’ve got some bold predictions for the newest iteration of this team, let’s get down to it.
Kyle Connor scores 50
We have seen a handful of 40-goal scorers with this Jets squad over the 2.0 era, including Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Scheifele. Yet we still haven’t seen that 50-goal mark in Winnipeg since Jets 1.0. Kyle Connor had a slow start to scoring last season only scoring two goals in the first month of play last season. The puck luck just wasn’t there for the 26-year-old Jets forward. If Nikolaj Ehlers and Scheifele stay healthy, you and the rest of the NHL better watch out for the Jets’ top line.
You can’t forget KC also got engaged this past summer. It has nothing to do with hockey but the man is in love and committed to his partner. The power of love is a powerful thing and we might see KFC go for 50 this season.
What happens to Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele
The City of Winnipeg has been waiting patiently to see what happens with Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele who both have expiring UFA contracts. Both players are on phenomenal contracts that almost every team would want to get their mitts on. Both players are earning $6.1 Million.
Hellebuyck is looking to win a Stanley Cup, he is 30 years old, and father time doesn’t slow down for anyone. The time for the Jets starter to win is the next 4-5 years unless he surprises us and pulls a Tim Thomas and wins at 37 but that’s doubtful with him already playing so many games in the front half of his career. He can’t wait for the young Jets players to grow and develop if he wants a proper shot at the Cup.
Scheifele is an interesting case. He just scored 43 goals last season but has lost favor with the majority of the fan base due to a perceived attitude problem, lack of defending, and the coaching staff called him out by name last season. Is there another team willing to take on a guy who doesn’t want to defend and could bring an attitude to the locker room?
At some point this season the Jets might make Laurent Brossoit could step in as the Jets starter and we can all say good-bye to Helle.
Mark Scheifele could stay with the team as long as they are a playoff contender but if it looks like the Jets are going to miss both players could be traded and set the team up for a proper retooling. If Scheifele plays well all season long and has good play off performance we might be having a conversation of is he a Jet for life next season.
The Jets don’t name a captain
With the way the back half of last season went I’m not sure if anyone in the locker room makes sense to be the bona fide leader of the Jets. If the Jets are going to name a Captain they are probably going to name Adam Lowry or Josh Morrissey as the next captain of the squad.
Morrissey had an outstanding individual season and put the team on his back at times. He has been a leader on the team for the last few seasons. Has it been enough to be the new leader? His on ice actions sure seem like it I have no idea what is going on in the locker room with the Jets top defender.
Adam Lowry is someone who would be a great leader for the Jets. He fits the hard-working structure of Winnipeg, stands up for his teammates and is very involved with the community in the city. The only thing that almost stops Lowry from getting the C on his chest is his contract is up at the end of the 2024/25 season. That’s only two years as a guaranteed leader. Management and ownership would like to see a long-term leader.
The first half of the season when the Jets were looking like an elite team both guys seemed like great leaders but with how the back half went for the team and a lack of response from either of them it makes you wonder if they need another year to mature.
Dylan Samberg is a top four defender for the Jets
Dylan Samberg is going to be a great defender when he hits his prime of his career. The 24-year old had a great first full season in the NHL. Although the scoring stats weren’t sexy, two goals and 11 assists, the defensive game was there.
There could be a start of season slump for the young Jets defender as many sophomore’s have in the NHL but with the good guys around him like Nate Schimdt and the fire being set by the other young defenders Samberg might take the positive vibes from the veterans and the pressure from his peers and take that next step in becoming a great NHL defender.
I like Brenden Dillon but does he still have “it” to stay on the second pairing? For a team that wants to contend I don’t know if he’s a top four defender.He plays an important part on this team but if the Jets want to succeeded Neal Pionk might need a more defensive partner like Samberg and let Dillon and Schmidt create chaos on the third pairing.
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