NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.
WINNIPEG -- The long-term mindset for the Winnipeg Jets is a draft-and-develop plan to build an organization able to compete on a yearly basis.
The Jets' short term could be a bit different, however, for a coaching staff and locker room that has sampled the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Balancing short- and long-term goals will be one of the many tasks facing coach Paul Maurice this season.
Winnipeg reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007, setting a franchise record with 99 points and tying a franchise record with 43 wins. Even a four-game sweep by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference First Round did not dampen the enthusiasm of Maurice and his players.
"I think we came into the season last year expecting to be one of the hardest-working teams and go through the process of being a team that is hard to play against [each] night, and I thought we did that," captain Andrew Ladd said.
With unrestricted free agency looming for Ladd and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, there is pressure for the Jets to navigate the Central Division and reach the postseason again. After an offseason when veteran forwards Michael Frolik, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty and Jim Slater left Winnipeg, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will trust that his prospects-oriented approach is ready to provide homegrown solutions to fill the lineup vacancies.
Right wing Nikolaj Ehlers, the ninth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, highlights the group of prospects pushing for a spot on the Jets roster.