Projecting the Jets 2012-13 Forwards

Posted by Michael Remis in Columns,Winnipeg Jets on June 28, 2012 — 5 Comments

Previously, Ezra posted his “Five UFA Forwards the Winnipeg Jets could target“. Before I begin to select Free Agents at will, lets take a look at what the Jets forwards group might look like this coming season and predict what types of players they need.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that the Jets will re-sign their RFA’s (Evander Kane and Spencer Machacek).

Kyle Wellwood, Shootout

Forwards:

Ladd – Little – Wheeler

Kane – Antropov – Burmistrov

Machacek – Free Agent?- Miettinen

Thorburn – Slater – Cormier

In the mix: Ben Maxwell, Mark Scheifele, Jason Gregoire, Carl Klingberg

Departing via Free Agency are Kyle Wellwood, Tanner Glass, Eric Fehr and Tim Stapleton. Entering the lineup in their place are Spencer Machacek who scored nine points in eleven games during his second call up and Patrice Cormier who is a gritty player that can take face-offs and be used on the penalty kill..

Last season the Jets regularly carried twelve forwards, opting for depth on defense. They have showed to be risk averse, opting for one year deals with players. Last season their free agent signings were Kyle Wellwood, Tanner Glass and Derek Meech.

After looking at the potential group of forwards, and the Jets history in free agency, it would be reasonable to think that the Jets will make very minor low risk acquisitions. The potential player types they need are a second/third line player who could spend time on the power play (a Wellwood replacement) and a gritty third/fourth line player who can spend time killing penalties (a Tanner Glass replaement).

Potential Wellwood Replacements:

Kyle Wellwood – Re-signing Wellwood should be an option for the Jets to consider. He spent time on all four lines and finished fifth on the team with 47 points. He will likely be looking for a raise and a multi-year deal next season. If no other offer is on the table for him, he can always come back to the Jets in September.

Lee Stempniak - Stempniak made $1.9 million last season with the Calgary Flames. His 28 points were his worst offensive season since his rookie year in 2005-06 when he scored 27 points. Stempniak has shown scoring potential in the past, potting 27 goals in 2006-07 and 28 in 2009-10. On a one or two-year deal, he could have a bounce back year similar to Wellwood’s.

Additional reading: Sportsnet.ca: Flames face tough decision with Stempniak.

Potential Glass Replacements

Tanner Glass - The “G” in the GST line became a fan favourite in Winnipeg for his tougness, willingness to block shots and never quit attitude. He was one of the the Jets first free-agent signing for $750,000 and is reportedly looking for somewhere between that and Jim Slater’s $1.6 million. As recent as June 13th, Glass has said that the deal is “80-85% done“ making it appear more likely that Glass will be back in a fourth line role.

Jordin Tootoo – Born in Churchill, Tootoo turned down a contract offer from Nashville after he was upset with his reduced playing time. Winnipeg can offer him additional playing time as well as a chance to play close to home. After entering the substance abuse program in 2010, Tootoo had his best season last year scoring 30 points in 77 games. With a renewed commitment to hockey, he could improve on that total next season.

Additional reading: Jordin Tootoo season in review: Expectations met?

As they say, sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. For those who think the Jets will make a splash in free agency, after looking at their roster, it is likely that the team may stay put, and simply wait out all the free agents like they did last year signing Kyle Wellwood. The team’s focus is the future and they may just sit back and let their players develop while staying close to the cap floor.

All salary cap and contract information retrieved from CapGeek.

  • http://twitter.com/The_LastLaugh Sean Weech

    I think Peter Mueller could potentially be a great addition.

    Even with our defensive depth I get the feeling they’ll take a look at Greg Zanon. Noel has experience with him down in Milwaukee.

  • http://twitter.com/The_LastLaugh Sean Weech

    Another guy that could also be getting a look is Brad Boyes.

    Oh and while I’m at it, Prust wouldn’t look to bad replacing Glass.

    PST!

  • http://twitter.com/aoystreck aoystreck

    Zenon Konopka would only be a 4th line centre you put in the lineup as needed, but he’s an assassin in the faceoff circle, a daunting fighter and by all accounts one of the best dressing room presences in the league. Doesn’t look like Ottawa is going to re-sign him, so the Jets should see what he’s seeking.

    I don’t really agree with the depth chart as drawn in the article. The Jets don’t lack third line centres; they arguably have 3 or 4 of them. What they lack is a #1 centre (Little is ideally suited to the #2C role), be that’s not really a hole that can be filled in free agency, and unlikely to be remedied by trade.

    It’s probably best to keep Burmistrov in the #2C spot unless Antropov, Scheifele or someone else steals it from him. He has decent chemistry with Kane, and really only needs to learn when to play fancy and when not to. The only way to gain that experience is through ice time in the role, and Antropov will be gone by this time a year from now anyways.

    Slater is a fine #3C, and a third line of Machacek-Slater-Miettinen is intriguing. Thorburn-Cormier-Klingberg would be a pesky 4th line to play against

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com M Remis

     Thanks for the comments Sean, Meuller or Boyes would be a great pickup if they could be had at reasonable cost.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com M Remis

     I would agree that the depth chart can be ordered however. Cormier or Slater can be the third line centre. The point of the article was to show that the Jets probably won’t be very active in the UFA market on Sunday.