the team in ice time and playing all 82 games for the fourth time in his career, the 30-year-old Enstrom has proven himself as a dependable and durable player for the Jets. Goaltending Part of the reason may have been the defense played in front of him, but Ondrej Pavelec did not have a very good season in 2013-14. With a goals-against average of 3.01 and a save percentage sitting at .901, those numbers will not bring the team any closer to a playoff spot. The former second-rounder in 2005 has the ability to be a top-notch goaltender, he just needs to put everything together, but the clock is ticking. While last year’s backup Al Montoya has left the team, Pavelec will be pushed by other options within the organization if he does not succeed. Michael Hutchinson will be Pavelec’s primary backup this year after an impressive run in the AHL playoffs last season as he led St. John’s to the Calder Cup Final. If Pavelec should falter at some point during the year, Hutchinson will get the first crack at the top-spot in goal despite limited experience at the NHL level. Power Play Without a proven player to run the point on the power-play, it should be no surprise that the Jets finished among the worst performing teams in the NHL last season. The team converted on only 15.4 percent of their opportunities in the 2013-14 campaign, better than only five teams in the NHL. Part of the reason for the lack of success could be the lack of opportunities as well. With only 259 opportunities on the manadvantage, the Jets finished 19th in the league. With that number they finished the year just above the bottom-third of the NHL in that category. Paul Maurice will have to figure out what players will thrive in that position. If he finds himself needing to use Evander Kane on the power Dustin Byfuglien Don Smith/NHL/Getty Images play, he will also need the 23-year-old to overcome his struggles in that area of his game as he has only 26 power-play points in 324 games. Penalty Kill Despite their struggles on the power play, the Jets have shown a penchant for killing off penalties. Winnipeg killed off penalties to a tune of 83.2 percent, good enough for a top 10 finish in the league. A huge surprise is how successful they were given the fact that they gave up the ninth-most goals in the entire league last season with 231. One area where they could improve in their shorthanded-play is by instilling fear in the opposition that they can also score while on the kill. As good as the Jets were killing penalties, they finished tied for 19th in the league in shorthanded goals scored with five. While it’s nitpicking, it would add a dimension to their kill. Three Questions 1. Can the Jets continue their success under Paul Maurice? Paul Maurice is an experienced coach and after he took over the Jets, the team immediately won 9 of its first 11 games with him. It’s hard to bet against him, but he will need to whip the Jets into shape on and off the ice. 2. Can Evander Kane bounce back after a down season? In the strike-shortened 2012-13 season, Kane had 17 goals in 48 games. The talent is there for him to be a premier player in the NHL. He had some chemistry with Mark Scheifele towards the end of last season, so a return to 30 goals is possible. 3. Will Ondrej Pavelec become the goaltender the Jets need? Pavelec has teased the Jets with his athleticism for years, but this may be the first year that the team will put its foot down if Pavelec struggles. Pavelec will need a hot start to stave off the trade rumors. Prediction The Central Division is way too tough for the Winnipeg Jets, who are still retooling their team and have questions at critical positions, to make the playoffs this year. If they can figure out their goaltending situation and key players develop, a playoff season could come as early as next season.
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