Good morning and Happy Tuesday, Stars fans!
I thought it would be helpful if I were to do a brief overview of every Central Division team’s moves as a quick refresher and to expand on whether the team will be better or worse in regards to their moves. I will also stack them up against the Stars and show you how the Stars series against each team may end up panning out. Due to the success of the first two, this series will see it’s way to the end!
This final edition will cover the Winnipeg Jets:
The Winnipeg Jets’ 2014 Offseason Moves:
The Jets no doubt had a difficult season to fight through. Being placed in the hard-nosed Central division and leaving the comforts of the less stressful and much easier Eastern Conference (no offense) was obviously a challenge for the team, and it showed out on the ice. On January 12th, the Jets organization fired former head coach Claude Noel and replaced him with Paul Maurice. This move seemed to reignite the Jets, but it proved to not have a big enough effect and the Jets missed the playoffs by seven points.
The Jets started their offseason by re-signing forwards Chris Thorburn, Carl Klingberg, John Albert, Patrice Cormier, and Eric O’ Dell, as well as goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Besides Thorburn and O’ Dell, the rest of these players can be more than likely guaranteed to be pinned to the St. John’s Ice Caps, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate. Hutchinson may find a spot as the Jets’ backup netminder, after a successful AHL season that ended in a loss in the Calder Cup championship to the Texas Stars and the loss of former backup netminder Al Montoya to the Florida Panthers.
They made one free agent move by signing center Mathieu Perreault from the Anaheim Ducks. Perreault had an impressive year with the Ducks, tallying 43 points in 69 games while mainly serving on the third and fourth lines. He will come in and aid a Jets’ roster that severely lacks talent in the dot.
Their moves in trading ultimately backed up the fact that they were sellers and looking at rebuilding. The Jets ended up sending a 4th round pick to the Ottawa Senators in this year’s draft for a 6th round pick in next year’s draft. They received a 5th round pick in and 7th round pick in 2014, and 7th round pick in 2015 from the Washington Capitals in exchange for goaltender Edward Pasquale and a 6th round pick in 2014. They also traded away Jordan Samuels-Thomas to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 7th round pick in 2015. The Jets rebuild phase seems to be underway with all of these moves for future draft picks.
A few members left the Jets organization this offseason as well. As mentioned above, goalie Al Montoya departed for the Florida Panthers who are trying to pull a quick rebuild and regain their former status as a playoff-caliber team. Veteran center Olli Jokinen also decided to leave and take his talents to division rival the Nashville Predators who are now looking as though they will be the dark horse team of the NHL come next season. Young winger Jerome Samson also moved on to Tampa Bay.
Better or worse?:
There’s absolutely no way around it: the Jets will decline this season.
Winnipeg finished last year at 15th in the goals for department and 21st in the goals against department. With the rebuild phase imminent and draft picks galore filling their future, they just won’t be able to compete in the tough Central division full of six playoff caliber teams now. With the current players on the roster, they will be able to straggle along, but will not find a way to punch their ticket to the postseason.
The netminding will continue to stand tall, but the offense will see a bit of a dip with the defense most likely holding true to their performance last year. The Jets, though only a mere seven points away from the playoffs last season, finished dead last in the Central division and will more than likely find their way back to the bottom of the bin come the end of next season as well.
How will the Stars fare?:
The Stars performed very well against the Jets last year, finishing the year with a 3-1-1 record with Winnipeg enjoying the home-ice advantage.
The Stars will only meet with the Jets four times this year, the first time being December 9th at the AAC, going onto January 15th once again in Big D, and then on January 31st at the MTS Centre and February 24th also in Winnipeg.
Last season the Stars dominated the Jets early, outscoring them 11-6 in the first three meetings. The Jets rallied back and thoroughly stomped the Stars 7-2 in one matchup, which eventually led to the Stars winning a 2-1 bout in the series finale. The Jets never really figured out how to consistently pull off W’s against Dallas, and none of their positions truly dominated over the Stars.
Overall, I say the Stars sweep the Jets in all four meetings. There are just too many voids in the Jets’ scheme that the Stars thoroughly outmatch them in. The Stars will be heavily favored in offense and netminding, but the Jets may have a slight advantage on defense, but nothing is set in stone yet, as everyone knows.
Comments below on how you feel the Jets did this offseason and if you think the Stars will be able to rout them next year. Go Stars.