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Jets looking for answers to end playoff drought

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

The Winnipeg Jets will need to find answers from within if they hope to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, when the franchise was based in Atlanta.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made few changes, opting to retain all but four players from a team that finished last in the Central Division and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season since the Jets hired him in 2011.

Jets bank on improvement from youth in lineup

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

In three seasons since moving from Atlanta, the Winnipeg Jets have finished with 84, 51 (about 87 over a full season) and 84 points.

It is fair to say the time for tangible progress has come. The question for the Jets is whether a step forward can happen in what looks like the toughest division in the NHL?

There were not a lot of changes made. Adding Mathieu Perreault to replace Olli Jokinen might not have garnered a lot of attention in early July, but it can be a slight upgrade. There are some intriguing young talents with the ability to improve, and that appears to be the most likely path to an improved point total and maybe postseason contention.

The biggest problem is the other six teams in the Central Division. Five participated in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the sixth, the Nashville Predators, welcome back one of the best goalies in the world from injury and made other improvements during the offseason.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Jets:

Growth in Paul's game has Hockey Canada's attention

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Nick Paul is on the rise.

Literally.

The Ottawa Senators prospect and hopeful member of the Canadian national junior team has grown almost an inch since the start of last season and put on 20 pounds. A wing for the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, Paul is now almost 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds.

Even with what looks to be the wingspan of a small aircraft, he wasn't really picked up on Hockey Canada's radar until he lit it up in the OHL playoffs last spring, posting 12 goals and 18 points in 22 games.

"Nick performed real well for North Bay last year in the playoffs and actually made a statement to us about belonging here," said Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada's head scout.

Jets feel AHL success will help top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The managerial team of the Winnipeg Jets can take pride in the fact they've solidified a foundation of good, young talent by way of the NHL Draft.

The pipeline is brimming with blue-chip prospects ready to make their mark. Forward Mark Scheifele, a 2011 first-round pick (No. 7) and defenseman Jacob Trouba, the team's 2012 first-round pick (No. 9) are two recent top picks who've already established themselves.

"The goal once we came to Winnipeg was to try and increase the depth in the organization and I think [general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff] and the other management group have provided us with a lot of picks over the years and given us an opportunity to try and improve the depth and grow our organization from within," Jets director of amateur scouting Marcel Comeau told NHL.com. "That's the mantra [Cheveldayoff] has in place and that's what we're trying to do."

Jets need Pavelec to play like No. 1 goaltender

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

There will be no shortage of issues and question marks for the Winnipeg Jets this season. Team fitness, the power play and depth on the blue line are chief among the potential trouble spots.

However, no issue stands out more for the Jets, and among Winnipeg fans, than the performance of Ondrej Pavelec, the team's No. 1 goalie. Whether the Jets can climb out of last place in the Central Division will hinge, in large part, on Pavelec.

Pavelec will be 27 years old when he begins his sixth season as an NHL regular, but he is still trying to establish himself as capable of moving into the middle-tier of starting goaltenders.

Maurice, Frolik top Jets' five questions

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

Even a busy offseason would have left the Winnipeg Jets in a difficult position to push their way into Central Division contention.

The Jets finished in last place in the Central Division in 2013-14 with a 37-35-10 record, but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff elected to keep his roster mostly intact, with third-line center Mathieu Perreault as his only significant addition. If the Jets are to push aside some of their Central Division competition and reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, they will need to answer these five questions:

U.S. junior coach: defense spurs memories of '10

Friday, 08.08.2014 / 7:36 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- When Mark Osiecki arrived here in August 2009 as an assistant coach for the United States national junior team that would be playing in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, he looked at the defense that was assembled and wasn't sure how things would fit together.

Five months later, one of those defensemen, John Carlson, scored the overtime goal in the gold-medal game against Canada. The primary assist was credited to another defenseman, John Ramage.

Osiecki is back in Lake Placid, this time as the coach of the team that will go to Montreal and Toronto for the 2015 WJC, and as he looks at the eight defensemen remaining in camp, there's a familiar feeling: He's not sure how things will work themselves out.

Ryan Bourque agrees to contract with Rangers

Friday, 08.08.2014 / 4:46 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Restricted free-agent forward Ryan Bourque and the New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a contract, the team said Friday. Length and financial terms were not disclosed.

Bourque, 23, comes off his best American Hockey League season, scoring 21 goals and 37 points in 74 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He has 35 goals and 66 points in 196 AHL games with the Wolf Pack and Connecticut Whale.

Jets agree to terms with defenseman Brouillette

Friday, 08.08.2014 / 2:20 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Defenseman Julien Brouillette and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms Friday on a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000, the team announced.

Brouillette, 27, made his NHL debut last season with the Washington Capitals and had one goal and two points in 10 games. He had 10 goals and 20 points in 51 American Hockey League games for the Hershey Bears.

NHL.com's fantasy starting lineup of past decade

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

From season to season, players who display statistical prowess across the board define the fantasy hockey landscape. Though 100-plus point producers are always welcomed with open arms, championships in multi-category leagues go beyond that.

Fans who have played fantasy hockey for much of the past decade probably recall the category-coverage assets who either lifted your team to great heights or spoiled your pursuit of a title.

NHL.com has constructed a starting lineup of the best single fantasy seasons from 2005-06 to present. These players got the job done with elite-level production in multiple categories while avoiding the liability tag in any standard-league category.

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(The tribute) was great, brought back a lot of memories. I felt I wanted to give them the thank you they deserved. I understand the booing and it was expected. They are great fans.

— Martin St. Louis after playing his first game in Tampa Bay since being traded to the Rangers last season
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