Dobber’s Offseason Fantasy Grades: Winnipeg



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Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Winnipeg – and Final Grades


For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. My 14th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.



Gone – Grant Clitsome, Matt Halischuk


IncomingShawn Matthias, Brian Strait, Quinton Howden


Impact of changes – In looking at last year’s piece, I noticed that the Jets didn’t bring in any new players who played, and only four or five depth players were gone. This summer the above list looks just as barren, as I don’t expect Howden to see a lot of ice time and Strait will be a No.6 or No.7 defenseman. Matthias will see time on the third and fourth line and brings the team a lot of versatility in that he can play any forward position and bounce from the second line to the fourth pretty easily.

It is status quo for Winnipeg, and why not? They have a great young team on the rise and they just added the best 18-year-old sniper in the world at the draft. There’s plenty of room for a newcomer because let’s not forget that Andrew Ladd was moved late last season.

The dumbest biggest change that won’t show up as ‘gone’ or ‘incoming’ was the re-signing of Michael Hutchinson. It means that goaltending will remain the same for 2016-17, which is borderline ludicrous. Here you have a great young team that can now put together a top six that can compete with the best, and an excellent top four on defense…and then you backstop that with an Ondrej Pavelec/Hutchinson duo? Who do they think they are, Dallas? If they want to make the playoffs, they need Connor Hellebuyck. Right from the start, because every game will count. Alas, it won’t happen.



Ready for full-time – Hellebuyck becomes the best goalie not in the NHL, now that Matt Murray has graduated to Pittsburgh. Hellebuyck, 23, is a potential superstar goalie and at present he is a better option for Winnipeg than if you stuck both Pavelec and Hutchinson in the net at the same time. But the organization wants to give him one more season in the minors. Because they have to pay Pavelec $3.9 million for one more season, the thinking is that Hellebuyck won’t get enough starts in the NHL so the best move is to keep him in the AHL for the added ice time. But first Pavelec injury and Hellebuyck will be called up so fast it will make Hutchinson’s head spin. (Read more on Hellebuyck here – as if my glowing endorsement weren’t enough)

Laine is a potential 50-goal scorer who you can pencil in for 30 or even 35 right off the bat this year. There are many fantasy owners who feel that he is a better ‘fantasy’ player than Auston Matthews – and in many types of leagues they’re not wrong. Pencil him in on the first line right from Day 1. (Read more on Laine here)

Kyle Connor is coming off a 71-point season in college, a lofty number rarely achieved and he did s