Let's face it hockey fans, the Winnipeg Jets were an awesome team last season (52-20-10) and they should be able to follow that performance up with another good season starting in October.
Even with losing Paul Stastny and Joel Armia to free agency, the Jets still have lots of engine power to stay in the dog-fight for the Central Division crown and move on to the playoffs once again.
I mean with a Patrik Laine on your team, the possibilities are limitless, and he's just 20-years-old.
Then, the youth movement is in full force in Winnipeg. Jack Roslovic, Nic Petan, and Brendan Lemieux, or possibly AHL standout Mason Appleton or 2017 first-rounder Kristian Vesalainen can fill some of the holes created by the departed players listed above.
Kyle Connor - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault - Nic Petan - Jack Roslovic
Brandon Tanev - Adam Lowry - Marko Dano
Extra forward: Andrew Copp
Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien
Josh Morrissey - Jacob Trouba
Dmitry Kulikov - Tyler Myers
Seventh defenseman: Joe Morrow
Best case scenario:
They felt confident enough to give their star goalie a big contract and he certainly deserved it. If Hellebuyck plays anything close to his phenomenal season a year ago, the Jets will be in the mix... most certainly. The playoffs are assured with the lineup in front of him.
Then, you have Patrik Laine who scored 44 goals, second only to Alex Ovechkin. If he continues his rise to stardom, the Jets will be almost an offensive scoring machine. They tallied 3.33 goals per game last year and their power play was at a 23.4% success rate.
Throw in a penalty kill of 81.8% and you have a well-balanced team ready to take on the entire NHL. They could go to the Stanley Cup Finals if everything works out right for them, or the Vegas Golden Knights come back down to earth.
Worse case scenario:
Laine or Wheeler magically all of a sudden stop scoring... sure like that's going to happen! Even worse, one of them or Hellebuyck get injured (always a possibility) and can't help their team to the finish line.
They end up really missing the play of Stastny (doubtful) or just come apart mentally (also doubtful) and don't play up to their capabilities.
Blake Wheeler starts to show his age (32) and slows down a bit... or sulks about not getting a new contract this being the last year of his six-year $33.6 million pact.
After his standout season last year, he will more than likely be rewarded with a new contract at some point.
The Winnipeg Jets have all the integral pieces to go to the Cup Finals, especially after they turned some heads last season showing critics they are for real. If not for the Cinderella season the Golden Knights had the Jets would have been there.
Could of, should of... this may be the season they do it. They are stacked and will be tough to beat.
An outstanding offense, adequate defense and the best goalie in the West should be the ingredients they need to take the next step.
Now, we will need to sit back and watch this loaded team perform... and perform they will.
How do you think the Winnipeg Jets will do in 2018/19? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (@VAVELNHL_ENG).