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Projecting the Winnipeg Jets lines to start the 2016-17 season

Trying to project the Winnipeg Jets forward lines.

The Jets played their final pre-season game of the 2016-17 season in St. Paul on Saturday night.  In advance of the game coach Paul Maurice had said the only line that was 100% starting the season together was the one that worked so well for his squad last year in Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.

Ehlers, Scheifele and Wheeler

So we can assume that the Jets top line looks like this:

1st line: Ehlers-Scheifele-Wheeler

For this exercise it is worth assuming that Drew Stafford and Shawn Matthias will be healthy and ready to start the season for the Jets on October 13th when they open against the Carolina Hurricanes at the MTS Centre.  Coach Maurice spoke about both on Saturday indicating that they “may be (ready to practice) as early as Monday” and said that both are “possible” for the Hurricanes game.  Both players wore yellow non-contact jerseys on Monday but following the skate the coach indicated that “they got through it fine so we would say right now we are very optimistic about them being available for the opening night lineup but they need to come back to the rink without a stiffness or being sore”.


The Jets have taken today off for an off-ice team retreat so we won’t know until tomorrow the status of Stafford or Matthias.

On October 7th and 8th the Jets bench boss used these lines in practice and in the game against the Wild:

2nd: Connor-Little-Burmistrov
3rd:  Laine-Perreault-Armia

Of course those were without Stafford and Matthias participating.  It seems likely that Alexander Burmistrov was holding the spot for Drew Stafford.  Yesterday the Jets bench boss was blending up the lines including Mathieu Perreault playing centre for Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.

Based on the above it seems reasonable that coach Maurice will likely use some combination of these wingers on the second and third lines being centered by Little and Perreault:

2nd line: Connor-Little-Stafford  |  Laine-Little-Stafford

3rd line:  Laine-Perreault-Armia |  Connor-Perreault-Armia

Lastly, you have five players who can mix in and out of the fourth line or even move up to the 3rd line in case of injury or need:

4th line: Matthias-Lowry-Burmistrov-Thorburn-Tanev.

And there you have what the Jets projected forward lines may look like on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.  Of course we will have a better idea of what the actual lines look like on Wednesday and will know for sure what they will be when the team takes to the ice on Thursday at the MTS Centre for game day skate.

These were just my thoughts.  What do you think the lines will look on Thursday night?  What is your best guess?