First off, I just want to say that I think Kevin Cheveldayoff had a great off-season and though he may not have brought the big fish in by way of top name free-agents ( Players that Winnipeg may never get). It is fair to say that he did bring in some pieces and some size that makes this team a lot more fierce then the collective point totals a lot of these guys have. There are some big, strong, physical guys on this team and I am ready to see them bang with anybody down in the corners. But two of the biggest new acquisitions are definitely landing Devon Setoguchi from the Wild and Michael Frolik from the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. These two players are new in Winnipeg but they are brought here with the assumption that they will be expected to add forward depth that Winnipeg desperately needed.
Devon Setoguchi is expected to man the second line alone with Evander Kane and either of rookie hopeful Mark Scheifele or veteran Olli Jokinen. Either of which I would consider a win, win situation because either Scheifele is going to finally prove his worth after dominating junior hockey the last few years, or Olli Jokinen is going to show that he’s still got some fight and desire to be a dynamic player like he was for many years. Especially considering Jokinen is in a contract year, you never know what player is going to show up. Which was the problem last year with himself and the Jets, because you had to flip a coin to see which player you were receiving any given night. But with either Jokinen or Scheifele alongside Setoguchi, I think this line will be much improved.
Michael Frolik on the other hand joins us from Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and brings some grit and playoff success from one Windy City to another. Frolik is a guy that battles, is tough and strong and chipped in 10 points in 23 playoff games while being a +1. Not bad for a guy manning the third line I’d say. But not to be outdone, Setoguchi brings a record of success with him too and knows how to compete at a high level which is shown by the fact that he is yet to miss the playoffs in his first 6 NHL seasons with the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild. Hopefully this sort of success can rub off on a franchise that hasn’t had any real playoff success in this version of the Jets or the last one. But I did completely agree with Setoguchi who when asked about this coming seasons playoff push he responded by saying,
“In order to make that extra push you can’t really talk about it now,” he added, “Throughout the year you’ve just got to feel it. You expect yourself to win and every day you come to the rink you’ve got to get better. That’s the mentality I’ve gotten from this place so far… guys are out on the ice early, guys are staying out there late. Frolik was on the ice (Monday) for an extra hour… stuff like that, that little extra is what makes the difference between just normal teams.”
Now that’s what you want right there. You want guys who don’t talk about it, you want someone who you see represents it every day. Actions do speak louder than words and time will tell how these guys go about their business. But with Scheifele and Trouba coming up, along with the long-term pieces recently signed I think all those in Jets nation should be happy to have players who know how much their team means to them. Furthermore, not only do our teams players know how much the Jets mean to us, the entire NHL does too and who knows? Maybe that will land us our big fish one day. As for now, the time is here for the Jets to push through and the rest of the players are starting to believe it. When Ondrej Pavelec was asked about the upcoming season he responded by saying,
“I think it was a great summer for the Jets and Chevy (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) did a great job. Setoguchi is going to score some goals and is a very good player. Same thing with Frolik. We signed some big guys. Now it’s time to make the playoffs.”