October 02, 2014

WINNIPEG JETS

LAST SEASON: 43-26-13, 99 points. Lost to Anaheim Ducks in Western Conference quarterfinals.

COACH: Paul Maurice (18 NHL seasons, 521-495-99-86).

ADDED: LW Matt Fraser.

LOST: D Keaton Ellerby, RW Michael Frolik, LW T.J. Galiardi, C Eric O'Dell.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, who are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after this season. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has done an admirable job stockpiling prospects and creating salary cap space but no amount of money or young talent can adequately replace a top forward and a top defenseman for nothing.

OUTLOOK: A year ago, the Jets were viewed as a franchise treading water, a team that averaged 84 points over the previous four seasons. Last season, however, the Jets jumped up to 99 points and a seventh-place finish in the Western Conference. Was it an outlier or are the Jets ready to become a consistent playoff contender?

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