The Canadiens face the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season tonight, which is as good a time as any for those of us who aren't up to date on the Jets to catch up on how their early season has been going. We talked to Cara T, who you might recognize from some excellent fanposts around here and from our comment threads, about the visiting team.
1. Ondrej Pavelec appears to be doing very well at the moment. Has anything changed that you know of in terms of coaching or offseason training or even the Jets' defensive systems, or is he just riding an unsustainable hot streak?
Word in the media is Pavelec actually trained hard this summer. He still looks like Pavelec but has had fewer WTF moments this season. The problem is Pavelec has had stretches like this before so there is a lot of trepidation in believing he is better. Right now, I'll say it's a hot streak.
2. This team seems to be in the toughest division. Over the course of this year, how will they manage to counter the depth of teams like the Blackhawks and Blues and the scoring ability of the Stars and the Avalanche?
Depth. The Jets don't have much. After Evander Kane got hurt in the first game of the year, Chris Thorburn was moved up to the third line. There is also the fourth line that almost never plays five minutes a game. In the West this is a major problem. The second pairing D is also turning into a major concern, with Stuart and Trouba dragging down whichever forwards they are playing behind. Peripherally, the Jets look decent, but they are sitting at 6 ROW, struggling to win games in regulation. This could come back to bite them later in the year. In short, the depth is sketchy and the Jets have some holes, but this is fun right now. When healthy, the Jets forward depth is fine. When they suffer injuries to skilled players, they tend to just move guys up the line-up, which depletes their skill level vs calling up a more skilled player and playing the call-up in the injured player's spot.
3. Let's talk about our Mark Scheifele feelings.
Scheifele has had some bad luck and should probably sacrifice something to stop hitting so many posts. He also needs to be separated from the aforementioned Stuart/Trouba pairing. He was playing well possession wise when backed by Enstrom/Bogosian, but has been sinking with the Stuart and Trouba. He is a good centre for Evander Kane though, which is a very nice thing.