The Winnipeg Jets look to bounce back this season following a turmoil-filled 2021-22. Last season’s mess culminated in Paul Maurice stepping down as coach and Blake Wheeler losing his captaincy. Now, veteran coach Rick Bowness looks to right the ship while most of Winnipeg’s core stays intact.
The NHL odds are bearish on the Jets as they have them finishing just outside the playoff picture. The team will have to rely on younger forwards such as Cole Perfetti and David Gustafsson to make up for the losses of veterans such as Paul Stastny.
Another big question is goaltending. How will David Rittich fare as the backup to Connor Hellebuyck? He will step in to replace Eric Comrie, who spelled Hellebuyck in 19 games. Hellebuyck had a lukewarm season and the Jets can’t risk him getting fatigued. So Rittich will have to be solid.
Winnipeg Jets Odds
- To win Stanley Cup: +8000
- To win Western Conference: +4000
- To win Central Division: +2500
- To make playoffs: Yes +180/ No -220
Player to Watch
After being one of the more potent offenses in the NHL, the Jets slipped to 16th last season. Their once-prolific power play also finished 17th. The likes of Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele will continue producing at a high level. But the team needs all the help it can get and Perfetti will be counted on to play meaningful minutes on both 5-on-5 and the PP.
Perfetti, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, finished two goals and seven points in 18 games last season. He’s already on a roll this coming season as he scored twice for Winnipeg in their preseason game against Edmonton. The sportsbook has Perfetti as one of the contenders for the Calder Trophy. If he can realize this potential, Winnipeg may become a top-10 offense this season.
- Player to Watch: F Cole Perfetti
If Ville Heinola is not the breakout player for the Jets this season, then who will be? Most of the Jets have established veterans. Logan Stanley could definitely have a stronger season as can Kristian Reichel, who is expected to start 2022-23 in the AHL. But Heinola is the star defenseman Winnipeg has been waiting for since the team drafted him in 2019.
Heinola played 12 games last season and managed five assists. As an offensive defenseman, Heinola could inject some life into the PP as one of its main drivers. Bowness has experience coaching top-tier Finnish defensemen such as Miro Heiskanen and he’s challenged Winnipeg to up its offensive game. Should Heinola fit into Bowness’s rotation, he may just have a career season.
- Breakout Watch: D Ville Heinola
Winnipeg is expected to miss the playoffs again with an 87½-point total. However, Jets fans can be ecstatic to learn that this franchise has gone “over” the point projections in seven of their 10 seasons (not counting the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign). It’s worth betting online for Winnipeg to get revitalized under Bowness’s direction.
The Jets still have top-end forwards who can produce better than a point-per-game pace. Hellebuyck is a Vezina-worthy netminder who claimed the trophy in 2019-20 if he plays to his potential. And the Jets could finally see their young prospects take it to another level.
We’ll find out right away how good Winnipeg is as six of its first seven games are against playoff teams from last season. The other team is Vegas, which is expected to make the postseason in 2022-23.