If you’ve been paying attention to Gone Puck Wild lately, and shame on you if you haven’t, then you know school has begun as Wild fans brush up on their knowledge of the new teams within Minnesota’s division. This week, that new team just so happens to be the newest addition to the Western Conference–the Winnipeg Jets. Going through Sunday, we’ll break down the Jets’ major additions and subtractions, strengths and weaknesses, prospect pool, 2013 draft class and team outlook.
I swear, these Russians certainly don’t help improve the stereotype when they up and leave the NHL for the Kontinental Hockey League. Such was the case when 2010 8th overall selection Alexander Burmistrov opted to sign in Russia rather than re-sign with the Jets as a restricted free agent. The acquisition of Devin Setoguchi should help offset the blow of losing such a high-ceiling talent, but it’s still a heavy loss all the same. Last season, he would score just four goals and six assists for 10 points and an even plus-minus rating in 44 games, but the previous two seasons hadn’t been the best, either.
In three seasons with Atlanta/Winnipeg, Burmistrov would score just 23 goals and 35 assists for 58 points and a negative-8 rating in 194 games. At the tender age of 21, it’s certainly too soon for him to give up hope of ever being an impact player in the NHL. The league hasn’t seen the last of him yet, but perhaps the Jets have.
In addition to Burmistrov, forwards Nik Antropov, Aaron Gagnon and former Wild top liner Antti Miettinen are also no longer with the club. On the blue line, gone is Winnipeg native Derek Meech and Ron Hainsey. Of the two departed defensemen, Hainsey is the biggest loss, and he was allowed to walk in free agency. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will likely look to 2012 9th overall pick Jacob Trouba to fill the void left on the back end.
However, if Setoguchi, Trouba and 2011 7th overall pick Mark Scheifele can step into the lineup and take the place of Burmistrov, Hainsey and Antropov, I don’t see why this team can’t just pick it up where they left off once the puck officially drops on the season.