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Fantasy Preview: Winnipeg Jets

Scott Cullen
9/17/2013 2:08:00 PM
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The Winnipeg Jets overachieved to some degree in 2013 and their best players are likely to experience some regression, but there are plenty of quality fantasy options on this team.

Top Picks: LW Andrew Ladd has thrived offensively since joining the organization, scoring 75 goals over the last three seasons, which is tied for 19th, but also he hit a career high with 0.96 points per game last season. He's not likely to continue at that pace, because last year brought a very high on-ice shooting percentage, but Ladd remains a quality No.2 left winger for fantasy purposes.

RW Blake Wheeler also registered a career-high 0.85 points per game last season and has 105 points in 128 games over the last two seasons, which ranks 30th. Wheeler has similar percentage issues to Ladd, but because he doesn't score as many goals, having not hit 20 since his rookie season in 2008-2009, Wheeler is a lower end No. 2 right winger.

D Dustin Byfuglien is a No.1 fantasy defenceman. Over the last three seasons, he ranks second among defencemen in points (134), second in goals (40) and first, by a significant margin, in shots on goal (712).

Value Plays: C Bryan Little is a fine player, though not necessarily productive enough for the 20 minutes per game he plays on the Jets' top line. Playing with Ladd and Wheeler does provide value, though, so Little can settle in as a No. 4 fantasy pivot.

A two-time 50-point scorer, D Tobias Enstrom has 48 points in 84 games over the last two seasons, the problem being that he's played 84 of a possible 130 games. When he plays, he definitely deserves a fantasy spot, but the recent injuries cast a cloud over his value.

Sleepers/Breakthrough: In the last two seasons, only two players (Alex Ovechkin and Rick Nash) have more shots on goal than LW Evander Kane, who has 477. Kane also had 47 goals in that time, despite less-than-ideal linemates, so he's ripe for an offensive explosion, particularly if he finishes at a slightly better rate than his 9.5% career shooting percentage.

Aside from 2008-2009, when he hit the jackpot on Joe Thornton's wing, RW Devin Setoguchi has scored between 0.25 and 0.29 goals in his other five NHL seasons, finishing between 0.51 and 0.57 points per game in each of the last four years. Those numbers are decent, and consistent, enough to make Setoguchi a viable late-round fantasy pick.

The third overall pick in 2008, D Zach Bogosian has battled injuries, missing 32 games the last two seasons, but is well-rounded enough to generate fantasy interest when healthy.

Over the last four years, G Ondrej Pavelec has a .908 save percentage, which ranks 24th (out of 25 goaltenders to play at least 150 games), so that's not the most promising for the 26-year-old, but he is an undisputed number one goalie, so that means he could have fantasy value, if he could even get to an average save percentage in the .915 or .916 range.

Rookies: In 11 career NHL games, C Mark Scheifele has one point, but he was a force in the Ontario Hockey League last season, scornig 79 points in 45 regular season games, then adding 41 points in 21 playoff games.

If Scheifele is really ready to make his mark in the NHL, he could bump veteran Olli Jokinen from the second linem, a spot that would allow him to play with rising star Evander Kane. If Scheifele can't make that jump right away, that probably limits his fantasy appeal, but the opportunities will be coming soon.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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