GDHQNHL15_2pg-Winnipeg Jets 1

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Offense The Winnipeg Jets have one of the biggest forward groups in the entire NHL as they look to grind out the opposition with their size to create scoring chances. Captain Andrew Ladd and forward Blake Wheeler are the types of players that the Jets will build this philosophy around. Ladd had yet another solid year for the Jets since coming over from the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 by scoring 23 goals and 31 assists. Blake Wheeler one-upped the captain as he had a career-best 69 points while also scoring a career-high 28 goals off the wing. The 6’5, 205-pound Wheeler combines his physicality and scoring touch in a way that is rare for someone his size. A move to bolster the offense was made internally as the team will switch Dustin Byfuglien from defense to forward for the 2014-15 season. Byfulglien proved to be a bit of a liability on the back-end shown by his plus/minus standing at a -20 last season, but his size and scoring ability will fit right in with what the Jets are trying to do along the forward lines. While playing mostly defense, Byfuglien registered 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) and broke the 20-goal barrier for the second time in his career. Evander Kane is the key if the Jets are to make a surprise run at the playoffs this year. After making waves by saying he knows he can score 50 in a season, he will first have to show the consistency to score goals. Last year was a disappointment for the 23-year-old as he missed 19 games and scored only 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists). That disappointment, combined with character issues, has prompted rumors of him being traded. But, if Kane can overcome these issues and allow his talent to shine through to become the 50-goal scorer that he believes he can be, the Jets will surprise a lot of people in the Central. Defense The defense has a lot of potential with young players throughout the lineup, but they have yet to live up to their talent. The player that Winnipeg management is waiting on to develop the most is Zach Bogosian. The key for Bogosian is his health as he has missed nearly a full season, 59 games, over the last three years combined. It is difficult to develop the talent he has if he cannot stay on the ice. Last season Winnipeg WESTERN CENTRAL CONFERENCE DIVISION JETS Evander Kane Key Additions: C Mathieu Perrault, C T.J. Galiardi, LW Nikolai Ehlers Key Subtractions: C Olli Jokinen, G Al Montoya, RW Devin Setoguchi Strengths: Youthful group of physical forwards. Weaknesses: Goaltending situation is suspect. Unfulfilled potential on defense. Jonathan Kozub/NHL/Getty Images


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