The Jets are one of the most interesting teams in the league from a fantasy perspective. Guys like Ladd, Byfuglien and Pavelec all had monster first halves but terrible seconds... tough to predict what they will do this season. They also have Cam's #1 ranked breakout candidate fromthe Breakout Bible on the squad (Evander Kane). For those reasons (and more) we're lucky to have Ben Wendorf from Arctic Ice Hockey here as our Jets expert to help us figure out what's really going to happen this year in Manitoba. If you don't know Arctic Ice Hockey (formerly Behind the Net), they are SBNation's newest hockey blog and are doing some great stuff already... even though their team doesn't have a uniform yet. We recommend you pay them a visit.
We asked Ben seven fantasy questions related to the Jets... below are his answers.
If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Jets check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.
BY BENJAMIN WENDORF FROM ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY
Q1) Jets Breakout of the Year?
It has to be Evander Kane. His role is continuing to expand with the team, and even with last year's minutes he produced 234 shots across 73 games. Given a full season, he could muster 275, and that 8.1% shooting was a bit unlucky for a player of his caliber. His floor is around 25 goals, but he could get up to 35 this year, and 50+ points.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Jets
If Alexander Burmistrov can improve his faceoffs, he could entrench himself as Kane's center. No slouch at goal-scoring himself, the combination of teammates (Kane plus either Nik Antropov or high-percentage shooter Eric Fehr) and his own development as a former 1st-rounder could help Burmistrov take the next step this year. His biggest drawback is his position, which is always deep, but if he continues to have trouble in the faceoff dot his talent could still be enough to get him 2nd-line time on a wing and multi-position eligibility.
Q3) League Wide Breakout of the Year?
A lot of people are going to talk about Taylor Hall and John Tavares, which is all well and good, but I know you guys want a name that'll slip a little further. James van Riemsdyk is moving into a prime position to breakout alongside Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. JvR's speed, hands, and size, along with Giroux's deft playmaking and Jagr's increased focus on the pass in his latter years, make the young LW a premium complement and big-minutes forward. [Note: Ben picked JvR before he signed that fat contract.]
Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on the Jets?
Andrew Ladd shot nearly 15% last year, and he and his line (with Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler) are going to take on tough minutes, so it'd be tough to predict a repeat of his 29-goal season. He's a solid two-way forward, but he was shooting nearly 4 percent above his head last year. It'll be kind of a mini-breakdown, though, because Little and Wheeler could offset his regression in goals by helping his assist numbers.
Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on the Jets?
Defenseman Paul Postma is a player to keep your eye on, as he has slowly worked on his two-way game and could be an excellent linemate for Zach Bogosian's hard shot. A former 23-goal, 84-point scorer in the WHL, Postma distributes the puck well and is tall enough (6'3") to fill out and turn into a solid, takeaway-focused defenseman. At 22 years old and with a 69-game, 45-point AHL campaign under his belt, we could get a good look at him this year, particularly if the older defensemen in the food chain (Oduya, Hainsey, Stuart) falter.
Q6) How do you see the Jets' Goalie Situation playing out this year?
Though Chris Mason has said he feels it'll be competitive, I think most people will agree that it'll be a 75-25 split between Ondrej Pavelec and Mason, respectively. Pavelec had a great year in his first full season in the league, and his play at the IIHF tournament after his late-season injury was both impressive and a testament to how good he's become. Obviously, health will be a concern, but 60 games played for Pavelec is not out of the question.
Q7) Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec all had great first halves and terrible seconds. What happened and which version will we see this season?
In the cases of the former two, the chickens were coming home to roost; both had ridiculously high shooting percentages and were due to regress. In Pavelec's case, he had injury issues. As I mentioned above, I think Ladd will regress a bit and Pavelec could certainly return to form. Byfuglien is an interesting case, because I think he could repeat for the simple reason of shot volume. The guy takes a ton of shots, and his shot was good enough to get through 5.8% of the time. His situation hasn't changed; he'll still be top-pairing D, will still get a lot of powerplay time, and will still take a lot of shots. 5.8% isn't absurd for a D with ample powerplay time, so I think he has a possibility of repeating his performance. Will he have an ugly 1st half/2nd half split? Yup, it's kind of the nature of the beast at that position; assists depend somewhat on the quality of the team and your PP time, goals are just all over the place. If the shot volume remains high, he'll get enough goals to make people happy...but they better be ready to talk trade.