Potential 2012-13 Winnipeg Jets Line Combinations

Posted by Michael Remis in Roster Analysis,Winnipeg Jets on July 3, 2012 — 7 Comments

Free Agency weekend was quite eventful for Jets fans. With the signings of Olli Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky, combined with the departure of Tanner Glass, the Jets forward corps will have a different look next season.

After giving some thought to potential line combinations, here’s what Coach Noel might do to start the season. Each line has a defined role and some inherent chemistry.

Line 1 – The Cycle Line

LW Andrew Ladd – C Olli Jokinen – RW Spencer Machacek

Andrew Ladd and Olli Jokinen are the shooters; the guys who can use their big bodies in the gritty areas to work the puck deep in the offensive zone. Spencer Machacek excelled last season on the third line, playing with former All-Star Jokinen and Captain Ladd should give the youngster a boost in what should be his first full NHL season.

Line 2 – The Speed Line

LW Evander Kane – C Bryan Little – RW Blake Wheeler

The strength of this line is speed; Evaner Kane may be one of the fastest players in the league, Blake Wheeler has exceptional speed for any player, let alone someone who stands at 6’5” and Bryan Little is better suited here in a second line role. Blake Wheeler was a passing machine last year, if he is feeding Kane all season, 40 goals will be within reach. (*Assuming the Jets are able to sign RFA Evander Kane)

Line 3 – The Russian Line

LW Nik Antropov – C Alex Burmistrov – RW Alexei Ponikarovsky

“The Russian Dolls”, 2 Alex’s 1 Nik, call them what you want, but this is what should be the Jets 3rd line. Hailing from Kazakstan, Russia and the Ukraine, each of these players were born in the former Soviet Union. The newly reunited Antropov and Ponikarovsky are a natural choice to be line mates. CBC’s Andi Petrillo says they were “attached at the hip” during their days in Toronto and St. John’s from 2000-2009. Here’s hoping they can rediscover that chemistry while helping twenty-year-old Alex Burmistrov develop his game.

Line 4 – The Checking Line

LW Patrice Cormier – C Jim Slater – RW Chris Thorburn

Patrice Cormier is a perfect fit to replace Tanner Glass. He’ll play at the wing, but can move to centre where he posted a 22-8 record in faceoffs last season. These guys get the puck deep, apply pressure through the forecheck and provide steady defensive zone coverage on the penalty kill. This line can skate and shut down the opposition’s top line, while also sticking up for their teammates. Chris Thorburn’s eleven fights last season lead the team while Slater and Cormier aren’t afraid to get in the dirty areas. While they won’t be the GST, Patrice Cormier brings the extra 2% that will have fans chanting PST.

In this lineup configuration, Antti Miettinen is a healthy scratch.

Agree? Disagree? Have your own line ideas, post in the comments.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/74AUQUUU3PCYENEPJXNUJIYHUM tookthetrip

    I see you don’t have Miettinen slotted anywhere… how come?

  • http://twitter.com/TBonnar Timothy Bonnar

    Sorry Mr. Remis, I am gonna be a pain in the butt and disagree with a lot of this. I really can’t see Machacek on the 1st line. I know he scored a lot last year, but those scoring rates were unsustainable. He is a mediocre 1st line player in the AHL, and I really can’t see that translatin into top line NHL minutes. If he makes the team, he is in all likelihood a 3rd or 4th line player.

    With your set up we also have 3 bad faceoff men at centre. Burmi. Antropov, Olli and Little all win less than 50% of their draws. 

    My best guess:

    Kane – Olli – Wheeler: They are the most talented players at their respective positions.

    Ladd – Little – Burmi: They all play solid 2 way hockey & I think Burmi needs the ice to continue his development.

    Poni – Slater –  Antropov: Can handle tough minutes and not be the worst line in the league. GST could not do this and as a result GST was the most outshot line in the league.

    Thorburn – Cormier – Machacek: They are a real 4th line. Coach can shelter them a little bit and Cormier will win some draws.

    If they keep Ladd / Little and Wheeler together, Kane / Olli / Burmi spreads the wealth. I just really hope we don’t see any variation of GST this year. They didn’t get the puck deep often, they just usually scrambled around in their own zone getting shot at.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanAlpers Ryan Alpers

    I like the bottom six how Remis has it set up, lots of grit on the 4th line, a good mix of shut down and scoring on the third line (though maybe not consistent effort).  I feel that the wingers on the top two lines have to be switched.  Your top line has to have your best offensive talent, and those are Kane and Wheeler.  Plus Jokinen is a shoot first guy so he needs a play making winger like Wheeler.  Blake can distribute to the two shooters (Kane and Oli) while their big bodies create space and wear down opponents.  Then your second line is more of a crash and bang offensive line. Ladd and Machacek both are net crashers and will give the speedy yet smaller Little room to distribute. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/74AUQUUU3PCYENEPJXNUJIYHUM tookthetrip

    I don’t see the Jets going with a clear #1 line. They will spread the wealth and have a 1A and 1B:

    1A: Kane – Jokinnen – Burmistrov: A player-maker in Burmi who can set-up two guys that like to shoot.

    1B: Ladd – Little – Wheeler: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    3: Ponikarovsky – Antropov – Machacek – The ex-Leafs re-unite, Machacek joins the club to add scoring.

    4: Miettenan – Slater – Thorburn – Scrap the GST line, dial-up MTS

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504326040 Mike Florence

    I disagree with some of those lines, especially the 1st and 4th.

     Also disagree with Cormier and Slater being on the same line. Assuming Cormier makes the team, he seems to be pretty good in the faceoff circle. No way Noel will put the two best faceoff guys on the same line.I think the top 2 lines will mostly be combinations of the following players:

    Ladd/Little/Wheeler/Kane/Olli/Burmi with a few other players getting thrown in there as injuries take effect

    I do like the idea of Poni/Antro/Burmi though. Putting Burmi with two fellow Russians might do a lot to help him play more consistently

    Bottom line will be a rotation of Mittens/Slater/Thor/Cormier/Machacek

    Not sure who will take Burmi’s place in the top 6 if he’s put with Poni and Antro. Maybe they should sign Semin. :)

  • Joey Howe

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate… What if Scheifele or Telegin really impresses? I love Machacek but there’s no way he belongs on the first line. I’d also love to see Slater get a chance on the second or third line but it’ll probably take an injury to happen. Miettenen will probably be the odd man out and start the year in St. John’s.

    1)Kane – Jokinen – Wheeler
    2)Ladd – Little – Burmistrov
    3)Poni – Antropov – Machacek
    4)Thorburn- Slater – Cormier

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we dealt for a solid top 9 RW as Chevy said we’re not done by any stretch. Injuries will happen and Scheifele/ Telegin/ Miettenen will get called up. In all likelyhood we won’t see much of Scheifele or Telegin this year as we let them develop 1 more year and make a run for it next year!

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

     Despite the glaringly obvious Machacek on the first line business. The kid got a tad lucky and frankly he just doesn’t look to have the skating speed for a top 6er. A good 3rd line guy he could very well be.

    Antro and Poni need to swapped on the 3rd line. Antro has almost never played LW (yet plays C and RW) and Poni has almost exclusively only ever played LW his entire career. Look your stuff up bro. They’re both lefties, why take them out of their comfort zones? The line is also almost implying (one of your more believable implications in this entire lineup admittedly) Burmi makes better strides at C because anytime Antro and Burmi play together Burmi is the one pushed onto the wing.

    Also, I’d much rather scratch Thorburn than Miettinen. Miettinen provides special teams play both PP (which Thorburn should never touch) and PK (which he’s done better at than Thorbs), yeah maybe he’s a European non-lunchpail guy, but he brings a MUCH smarter hockey game, on both sides of the ice, to the table than Thorburn. I’d rather have more W’s on the table than Hits for this team.

    Not terrible, but…better luck next time.