This summer has been a relatively quiet one for the Winnipeg Jets in terms of roster moves. With training camp quickly approaching Jets fans and media have been speculating on a number of uncertainties regarding the team.
Just because David Letterman is no longer doing ‘The Late Show’ that doesn’t mean top ten lists are extinct from society.
Here are the top ten questions heard this summer regarding the Winnipeg Jets
-(When) will Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien sign contract extensions? How much will it take to sign one, or both? What return can the Jets get for Dustin Byfuglien if he were to be traded?
-Where will 2014 1st round pick Nikolaj Ehlers play this season? Junior? The NHL? Europe?
-Can Ondrej Pavelec repeat his performance from the end of last season? How will playing time be split between Pavelec and Hutchinson? Will Connor Hellebuyck see time in a Jets uniform?
-How will Alex Burmistrov fare in his return to the NHL? Can he replace the departed Michael Frolik?
-Who is the 9th forward? This assumes the top eight forwards are Ladd/Little/Stafford, Perreault/Scheifele/Wheeler, Burmistrov/Lowry. The ninth could be Ehlers (mentioned above), or another one of the Jets crop of young players trying to make the jump to the NHL (see below).
-What young players will make the jump to the NHL level? Can Andrew Copp grab the 4th line centre role previously occupied by Jim Slater? Aside from Thorburn & Peluso, who else will be on the fourth line? Where do players like Matt Fraser, Matt Halischuk, Nic Petan, Joel Armia, Chase De Leo, and Brendan Lemieux fit in.
-What will Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry’s next contract look like after this season? Which of these three will get a bridge deal, and will one (or more) get a long term contact?
-Is there too much of a logjam on defense to open up a spot for 2013 1st round pick Josh Morrissey at the NHL level? With ten defenseman on one way contracts, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
-How much of an impact will having the Moose in the same arena have on roster movement? It was previously difficult for the organization to get players out of St. John’s to Winnipeg (especially after moving to the Western Conference). With the two teams sharing a building, can we expect more instances of players getting called up and down?
-Can Winnipeg support two pro hockey teams? This was a question that was asked when it was announced that the AHL would be returning to Winnipeg. In early August Dan Hursh, TNSE VP of AHL Operations told Global News “we’re certainly approaching the 4-thousand mark and that puts us in a really good place” putting to rest any concerns about the short term viability of the team.
These are the main questions that will linger until the season opener on October 8th, and throughout the 2015-16 season.