DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE
Yup, you heard it here first! Jets will fly high and take the Stanley cup… well maybe I'm not the first but anyone can make one hell of a case for them to win! Last year Winnipeg were rolling through the playoffs beating Minnesota and Nashville only to come short to the Cinderella story Las freakin Vegas. I can't believe still that they lost to them! Winnipeg looked better on every aspect possible but… as we all know… stats don't matter in the playoffs. Fast forward 1 year with Kyle Connor having a long playoff run and another year under his belt and the firepower throughout the line Winnipeg is poised to win the cup.
Let's take a look at the lineup starting with Blake Wheeler who quietly goes about his business every single year finishing last year with 91 points. Wheeler is one of the most underrated players in the game because year after year he's posting over 60 points! Then the Jets have Merlin Dirty Wizard himself, Patrik Laine with one of the ugliest beards of all time but one hell of a sniper. Magic is bound to happen if Laine is given the time and space in the offensive zone. Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers both finished with 60 points last year and with more experience comes better decisions which will help out the team in the 2 way game. Winnipeg has a scary lineup that can outscore any team and they are not push overs either.
Speaking of not being a push over let's look at the defense starting with Big Buff. Dustin Byfuglien brings something to a team that everyone loves to have in the NHL it’s the "Scare factor". What is the scare factor you ask? Scare factor is going into the corner with a guy who is 260lbs going at highspeeds looking to put that weight through your body. This makes it scary for teams to dump and chase or go through the natural zone without being blown up making them second guess or bobble the puck. If Buff can stay healthy and still be a productive point producer they back end should do just fine.
The big question mark that everyone has is Connor Hellebuyck who had his breakout season last year with a 0.924 Save% and 44 wins. If Helllebuyck goes down it could mean trouble for Winnipeg as the backup situation is a bit sketchy. Ever heard of Laurent Brossoit? No? Exactly.
Overall Winnipeg with the speed, toughness and snipers throughout their lineup will match and beat most teams on a nightly basis. The only real question isn't if they are going to make the playoffs it's can they stay healthy enough for the playoffs.
Let me know your thoughts!