Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Winnipeg Jets
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th 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.
^^and hey – this was just updated today, in fact!
Incoming – Laurent Brossoit, Dennis Everberg
Impact of changes – This young, high-octane team was built to last. It was built so that the players can grow together with minimal tweaking, from the goalie on outwards, backed up by the contract extension of their captain Blake Wheeler. Six players on this team would be on the first line of most teams. So very little was done in the offseason with the hope that some of the prospects can slot into the open roster spots and the younger proven players can eat up more of the available ice time. Adding Brossoit instead of the injury-prone Mason also furthers this notion. Because although Brossoit is one of the weakest backup goaltenders in the NHL, behind a strong team he could be a 0.910 guy who wins more than he loses when it comes to spot starts. And if Connor Hellebuyck ever gets hurt, the Jets would just call up Eric Comrie to hold the fort over an extended period while Brossoit remains backup.
In a nutshell, if you own any young Jets you can expect more opportunity and ice time.
Ready for full-time – Laurent Brossoit was horrible for 14 games with Edmonton, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. They eventually sent him back to the AHL as more of a mercy thing than anything else. In the AHL he was solid with Bakersfield and in his eight games with the Oilers in 2016-17 he was actually pretty good. Since the Jets would like Eric Comrie (click for scouting profile)to get in plenty of starts, having Brossoit around as an NHL backup will allow Comrie time to do that. Brossoit won’t get many spot starts, mainly just one of the back-to-back nights when the team plays. If Hellebuyck were to ever get hurt for a significant length of time then Comrie will get recalled and become the starter. Unless, of course, Brossoit thrives.
Nicolas Petan must clear waivers in order to be sent down. He won’t, so he won’t. Petan has had the unenviable task of being an up-and-coming scoring-line winger accustomed to putting up massive numbers at other levels…on an organization that already has plenty of those, but at a slightly higher gear. He’ll have to fight for ice time, and his big opportunity will come when the first injury strikes one of Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jack Roslovic or Mathieu Perreault. He will need to take full advantage if he’s to salvage future fantasy value. Do not underrate as he is still only 23.
Tucker Poolman was a big point producer at the college level, but the Jets already have several options on the blue line who can do that and a better option than Poolman coming up (Niku, below). Expect him to join the team on the bottom pairing with a few healthy scratches thrown in for good measure.
Defenseman Sami Niku almost embarrassed the AHL last season with his ridiculous production (54 points in 76 games). The 21-year-old even scored in his only NHL game, as if he didn’t make enough of a statement already. I think he will start the season with Manitoba but he won’t end it there. But working his way into the power-play mix with Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey already there will be difficult. Patience is needed with Niku as he may not help fantasy leagues for another two years yet, even if he is in the NHL.
Winnipeg Jets prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Winnipeg’s 277 goals last year were topped only by Tampa Bay and I feel like they haven’t even scratched the surface yet. If the team wanted to shorten the bench in the third period it’s almost as if they could ice three potential 80-point players and two potential 55-point defensemen from minute one through twenty. I really, really like their goaltending, and the prospect pipeline is similarly strong, albeit not as much when it comes to forwards. But overall, this organization is a fantasy owner’s dream with all that offense that will take place over the next five years.
Fantasy Grade: A+ (last year was A-)
Other Offseason Fantasy Outlooks, with their Fantasy Grade (not a measurement or projection of on-ice success, but rather an overall organizational ranking from a fantasy hockey standpoint). I shuffled these in the order of how happy I would be if my keeper league player was to be traded to this team:
Fantasy Outlook for the Winnipeg Jets A+
Fantasy Outlook for the Vegas Golden Knights B
Fantasy Outlook for the Ottawa Senators C- with Karlsson