As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. Today we begin the Western Conference’s Central Division.
Today: WINNIPEG JETS
2013-14 record: 37-35-10, 84 points
Where they finished: 7th in the Central; 11th in the West; tied for 22nd in the NHL
Coach: Paul Maurice (2nd season)
Key additions: C Mathieu Perreault, C T.J. Galiardi, LW Nikolaj Ehlers
Key subtractions: C Olli Jokinen, G Al Montoya, RW Devin Setoguchi, C James Wright
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Evander Kane
Michael Frolik – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler
Eric Tangradi – Mathieu Perreault – Dustin Byfuglien
Anthony Peluso – Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Extras: Matt Halischuk, Keaton Ellerby, Patrice Cormier
Mark Stuart – Jacob Trouba
Zach Bogosian – Tobias Enstrom
Adam Pardy – Paul Postma
Extras: Grant Clitsome
Ondrej Pavelec – Michael Hutchinson
Our take: When head coach Paul Maurice took over for Claude Noel in January, the Jets turned things around, going 18-12-5 in their final 35 games. It was enough to finish with a winning record but not enough to get them into the playoffs for the first time since moving from Atlanta.
A big problem was between the pipes, where Ondrej Pavelec finished 45th among NHL goalies in both goals-against average (3.01) and save percentage (.901). The Jets did very little to address that situation, replacing backup Al Montoya with AHL callup Mike Hutchinson, who has just three games of NHL experience.
The Jets also remained status quo with right wing Evander Kane, who has been the subject of trade rumors since signing with Winnipeg three years ago. Kane’s production (19 goals, 22 assists) dipped last season. Two years earlier he hit career highs with 30 goals and 57 points.
The Jets’ biggest move of the offseason was signing former Caps center Mathieu Perreault to a three-year, $9 million deal. It was a nice payout for Perreault after setting career highs with 18 goals and 25 assists in 69 games with the Anaheim Ducks. Ironically, those are the same numbers Olli Jokinen put up last season as the Jets’ No. 2 center.
Jokinen, who at 35 is nine years older than Perreault, left Winnipeg to sign a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators. Perreault is likely to be slotted as the Jets’ No. 3 center behind Bryan Little and up-and-coming Mark Sheifele, who showed a big upside when Maurice took over.
Offseason Grade: D
Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15? No.