Know Your Foe: Winnipeg
The Minnesota Wild is moving into the Western Conference's Central Division. The club will realign with six other clubs: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
It's important to know your enemies, so leading up to the 2013-14 regular season Wild.com Managing Editor Mike Doyle will take a look the Wild’s new divisional rivals. Today he gets to know the Winnipeg Jets.
Additions: Grant Clintsome, Michael Frolik, Devin Setoguchi, Adam Pardy
Subtractions: Nik Antropov, Alex Burmistrov, Ron Hainsey, Antti Miettenen, Kyle Wellwood
2012-13 Season Summary
Record: 24-21-3, 51 pts.
Finish: 2nd in Southeast Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify 2012-13
Wild Record vs. Winnipeg: Did not play
All-time Wild Record vs. Winnipeg: 6-3-3 (3-1-2 at home, 3-2-1 at Winnipeg)
Last Meeting: 2-1 Winnipeg win at MTS Centre (12/13/11)
2012-13 Team Leaders
Goals: RW Blake Wheeler (19)
Assists: LW Andrew Ladd (28)
Points: LW Andrew Ladd (46)
Wins: Ondrej Pavelec (21)
Shutouts: Ondrej Pavelec (5)
GAA: Ondrej Pavelec (2.80)
SV%: Ondrej Pavelec, (.905)
When the Wild was in the Northwest Division, it lined up against three Canadian teams. This year in the Central, the lone team Nord des Lignes (thanks, Die Hard with a Vengeance!) is the Winnipeg Jets.
Two years ago the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to hockey-starved Winnipeg and the franchise re-adopted the moniker Jets, after the first incarnation relocated to Phoenix. While Winnipeg sits northwest of the Twin Cities, the team remained in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division. So the move to the Western Conference and the Central Division will impact the Jets’ travel schedule, much like the Wild.
The Jets have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, just on the outside looking in last year finishing ninth in the East. The club hopes moving West will give it a better outlook when April rolls around.
The Jets made some offseason moves to improve its depth and bolster a talented young core up front, but the power play will need to improve if the team wants to be a playoff contender. The Jets added former Wild forward Devin Setoguchi, Michael Frolik and Matt Halischuk to the core of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane. If talented 20-year-old Mark Scheifele can become an NHL regular, the Jets should have depth and punch up front.
On the blue line, Winnipeg would like Zach Bogosian to become the minute eating two-way defenseman they envisioned when he was selected third overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Injuries have played a role in Bogosian's production, missing 11 or more games in four of his first five seasons. Still, the team is committed to the defenseman, signing him to a seven-year deal this summer.
In goal, the Jets have an established No. 1 in Ondrej Pavelec. The netminder played in 44 of the team’s 48 games last season, while backup Al Montoya skated in only seven games. However, Pavelec needs to improve on his numbers, as he will likely be the difference between the team’s first playoff appearance since moving north and an early golf season.
.900 – The Jets winning percentage when leading after the second period. Winnipeg went 18-2 on the season when holding the lead after two.
13.8 – Winnipeg’s Power play percentage, the League's worst from last season.