Dobber’s Offseason Fantasy Grades: Winnipeg

by Dobber on September 17, 2016
Mark Scheifele - USA TODAY Sports Images


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 so as a teenager. He’s turned pro now and is widely considered one of the 10 best forward prospects in hockey. He’s probably not yet ready to compete against men and flourish, so it’s likely he will play most of next season in the AHL. By the spring he’ll probably have a handle on that league and will be tough to keep out of the NHL in 2017-18. (Read more on Connor here)

Marko Dano showed promise during a 2015 stint with Columbus, but when he was traded to a deep Chicago team last year it derailed things for him (and his fantasy value). He should sneak onto the Jets as a checking-line forward, but because of the influx of talent up front it is doubtful he will ever see time in the top six. (Read more on Dano here)


Fantasy Outlook – The Jets actually slipped from 15th in NHL scoring as a team down to 21st. Of course, in today’s NHL that’s only nine goals – and Laine will help them close that gap in about five minutes. Between Laine, Mark Scheifele, Nik Ehlers, Connor and veterans Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little, there is a core of potential 70-plus point players here. Me likey, and you should likey too. And as great as their defensemen are, they have another stud on the way too in Josh Morrissey. I rated this team a little high last summer because of their promising outlook, so I won’t push their rating higher.

Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B+)



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Offseason Fantasy Grades: Philadelphia Flyers

Offseason Fantasy Grades: Pittsburgh Penguins

Offseason Fantasy Grades: San Jose Sharks

Offseason Fantasy Grades: St. Louis Blues

Offseason Fantasy Grades: Tampa Bay Lightning

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3 responses to “Dobber’s Offseason Fantasy Grades: Winnipeg”

  1. Scrub says:

    The Hutchinson signing wasn’t exactly stupid if I’m correct that it was done so they could have an under-contract goaltender to expose in the expansion draft, as Pavelec’s deal will have expired. Once Hutchinson goes unclaimed, he could remain as Hellebuyck’s backup, in theory.

    That said, as an annoyed keeper league Hellebuyck owner… get him in there, dammit!!! I’d image Jets fans must feel the same…

  2. Reuben says:

    Good stuff. Call me lazy – because I could search for it – but could you put the Laine link in? It says “for more on Laine, click here”, but I don’t think it’s there.

  3. MarkRM16 says:

    Pavelec and Hutchinson make Lehtonen and Niemi seem like Price and Lundqvist. There’s no way the Jets make the playoffs unless they do what the Stars did and score like crazy to make up for their subpar goaltending. Jets fans need to cross their fingers that Pavelec or Hutchinson quickly end up on the LTIR to give Hellebyuck the chance to show what he can do.
    Trouba deserved a mention, because the difference between him re-signing, holding out, or being traded would make a huge difference to the Jets’ D.