Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jets All Out Has Moved

Jets All Out has now moved and improved to the Bloguin Network.

You can find Jets All Out now at jetsallout.com

Thanks for your support and hope to see you over there!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kane Finally Shows Commitment to Jets

Evander Kane's 30 goals was a career high for the Jets budding star winger.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)

Go ahead, say it.

"It's about time."

If you are an impatient Jets fan that's your first reaction to the six-year, $31.5 million contract that 21 year-old Evander Kane finally signed late Saturday.

My first reaction was of sheer joy and then of even more sheer joy after hearing his press conference after signing.

Not only is he committed to becoming better and being a part of the Jets long term, there is no reason for him to not become a better player than he already is.

If he is still improving, 30 goals is only a stepping stone to his progress as the Jets premier power forward scoring machine.

Hold the phone though, why did it take this long?

Was it length of contract?

Was it money?

Was there hesitation on his part?

While negotiations were on-going between Jets brass and Kane's agent back in July, there was hope for optimism at that point that quickly died out leading into a stretched out August of back and forth with the NHL and NHLPA squawking at each other.

As a fan, I was worried that Kane would have too big of an ego to take such a base salary that the likes of John Tavares and Jeff Skinner had gotten earlier in the summer.

Kane wasn't afraid to drop the gloves on occasion.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
While at the same time know that both Tavares and Skinner have accomplished much more in their careers than Kane - both have been All-Stars and both were nominated for a Calder Trophy which Skinner won in 2011.

My biggest concern was he was reacting negatively to the Jets fans after what was a roller coaster season for Kane on and off the ice.

Whatever was the case for his late signing was put aside in my mind and should put other fans minds at rest - Kane chose a six-year deal for a reason: he wants to be here.

If Kane didn't want to be in Winnipeg as a Jet, he would have either not signed and waited for an offer sheet of some kind or signed a short-term deal to be able to become a UFA sooner and make money elsewhere.

And that, in my mind, shows that Kane is progressing, not only as a hockey player, but as a professional.

And for our leading goal scorer, that's the most positive sign for the Jets future.

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #17 Nik Antropov

Nik Antropov scored the first goal Jets 2.0 history.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Nikolai Antropov, 32, C, 6'6, 245 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: #8
This Year's Ranking: #17
Difference: -9

With the largest demotion in the top 25, Nik Antropov's extremely sub-par 35 point season made him the goat in this ranking in 2012.

Though he did score the first goal in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history, his 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 69 games was the lowest career total for Antropov since the 2006-07 season when he had 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 54 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and even then his points-per-game ratio was much higher.

For Antropov, his production continued to slide in 2011-12.

After a career year in 2009-10 with 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 76 games in his first season in Atlanta, he followed that up with a 41 point performance (16 goals, 25 assists) in his last season in Georgia.

In Winnipeg, Antropov played at times uninspired and sluggish.

For Jets fans, he looked like he skated slow and didn't care to backcheck much.

But with his hulking 6'6, 245 pound frame it doesn't take long to cover the ice in his long strides.

However, that is not an excuse for Antropov's lack of offensive production in 2011-12.

Brought in by former Thrasher GM Don Waddell to be a big number one centre, Antropov contributed to that philosophy in his first season and has tapered off significnatly.

One reason could be the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk, who had 31 goals with the Thrashers that season before being dealt to New Jersey.  Ever since, Antropov has not been able to replicate those numbers.

With former linemate Alexei Ponikarovsky now in the mix and probably taking the wing on Antropov's side, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff along with head coach Claude Noel are optimistic that Antropov will regain some additional offensive punch to the lineup in a third line capacity unlike a fourth line role which Antropov was demoted to last season.

All the Jets can hope for is that Antropov finds his game this season when it does start.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #18 Grant Clitsome

Grant Clitsome made sure he left an impression on Jets brass.
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)
Grant Clitsome, 27, D, 5'11, 215 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked
This Year's Ranking: #18
Difference: N/A

Word that come up to describe Grant Clitsome are versatile, steady, and an asset in the back half of the Jets blueline corps.

Claimed on waivers midway through the 2011-12 season to the Jets, Clitsome found relief by playing for a team in the midst of a playoff run that didn't pan out - but it was better than playing for a team in the basement of the Western Conference.

Though he split time with other sixth defenseman Randy Jones, Clitsome comes into the 2012-13 season with the opportunity to be in sole possession of that final defensive depth chart spot.

His competition will be the young up-and-coming Paul Postma to be sure, but Clitsome's 105 games of NHL experience does prove worthy of a closer look as well as his cap friendly salary which was a big reason Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff brought him to Winnipeg.

In 12 games his suited up for the Jets, Clitsome had three assists and a minus three rating.  He had finally made the Columbus Blue Jackets full time roster this season and had played 51 games for the Jackets with 14 points (four goals, ten assists) before the trade.

Throw in he was a -6 on a team that was the worst in goal differential at -60 and Clitsome was a bit of a steal in the waiver claim.

For Clitsome, though he is 27, his opportunity to make an impact is now and a strong camp and star of the season will be the only thing stopping him from again splitting time in the NHL or losing that spot on the blueline to the likes of Postma.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #19 Antti Miettinen

A mid-December addition, Miettinen added depth to the Jets.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Antti Miettinen, 32, RW, 6’0, 190 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked
This Year's Ranking: #19
Difference: N/A

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made a shrew move to acquire Antti Miettinen via re-entry waivers after the Tampa Bay Lightning signed the 31 year-old Finn to a two-yeard deal.

However, the move wasn't as shrewd offensively at first with the former 20 goal scorer as he was hoping.

In 45 games in Jets blue, Miettinen scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists) - his lowest totals since he scored one goal in 16 games in 2003-04 with the Dallas Stars.

Add to that he didn't score a goal until his 34th game into being a Jet (only six points in the 33 leading up to that game) and his stock wasn't much of a factor in the Jets season.

But you can understand the move to grab the ex-Minnesota Wild/Dallas Star.

Despite his meager eight points in 20 games in the KHL for Ak Bars Kazan early in the 2011-12 season, in 2009-10, playing alongside Mikko Koivu, Miettinen notched 20 goals and added 22 assists - albeit on a supposed "first line" of a non-playoff team.

The move to add Miettinen to the lineup was a depth move as the Jets wanted to make sure they didn't have to unnecessarily rush any of their younger players to play in the NHL right away.

Miettinen got a mixed reaction from Jets fans on the whole - and a mostly negative reaction from me for this ranking.

If he had been more of an impact offensively, his ranking would have been much higher.

Though he was fairly more consistent in the last part of the season - five goals, four assists in the last 13 games, his lack of offensive production during the stretch drive was enough to keep him way away from the top 15 players on the Jets.

With a season up in the air, the best thing for Miettinen to find his scoring touch again would be to start the season in Winnipeg and see how things develop with a training camp in Jets blue instead of in Russia.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #20 Chris Thorburn

With 11 points, Thorburn played more as a third liner.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Chris Thorburn, 29, RW, 6’3, 230 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: #17
This Year's Ranking: #20
Difference: -3

Chris Thorburn is a touchy subject for me.

First of all, he is a fourth line player.

Second of all, he doesn't score much.

And third of all, he isn't that great of a scrapper.

So, the only thing he was going for him is his leadership.

And on a team with a two-time Stanley Cup champion as captain there's not much room for Thorburn to improve in that category as he will always be behind in that department due to his fourth line role.

Seeing the departure of Tanner Glass, another low scoring, but much better of a scrapper, fourth liner, it begs the question of why not give a Patrice Cormier the shot at a fourth line role full time and let Thorburn find his place somewhere else.

Despite those nagging doubts in my mind as a Jets fan, Thorburn did impress at times.

The 6'3, 230 pound winger had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 72 games to go along with 83 penalty minutes and a -6 rating.

After a 19 point season in Atlanta in 2010-11, Thorburn's 11 points was a bit of a drop off but under the new regime in Winnipeg, it wasn't to come as a surprise.

Thorburn's fall in the rankings go for his decrease in production both offensively and his role on a third line who needed to play as one because of the lack of a true third line.

But Thorburn did throw down the mits 11 times this season, winning (according to hockeyfights.com) six, losing four, and tying 1.

As far as grittiness goes, Thorburn is not the premier fist thrower but he's all the Jets have until they find another fighter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jets All Out Top 25 II: #21 Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheifele's 2011-12 season was a busy one.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Mark Scheifele, 19, C, 6’2, 184 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked
This Year's Ranking: #21
Difference: +4

Surprising as this may seem, but Mark Scheifele's entrance into the Jets Top 25 players in the organization is more than earned.

Scheifele, who started the season in Winnipeg with only one goal in seven games, made his mark as the first Jets draft pick as the reincarnated team took him seventh overall in 2011.

Not only was his stock rising at that point, but it continued to rise all season, throughout his season in Barrie with the Colts, where he scored 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) in 47 games, to the World Juinors and onto a playoff appearance with the St. John's Ice Caps, where he collected one assist in 10 games.

Not only was Scheifele the busiest Jets prospect, he was the busiest Jet period.

And to think that the Jets 19 year old pick was playing Junior B hockey only three years ago.  That's not a place where many top 10 draft picks come from.

However, Scheifele's development continues and the Jets will be patient with him as he may progress into an NHL spot if he competes hard in camp.

With less jobs open this camp, another year in junior may be beneficial as he would be a dominant player with another year under his belt as well as NHL experience.

Scheifele did explode onto the scene in the 2011-12 NHL pre-season, but quickly died down to a third liner in his seven games in Winnipeg.

There's still more than enough excitement for Scheifele to wear a Jets blue jersey in Winnipeg and for good reason - he is going to be an impact player for the Jets in the future.

Another year older and experienced and Mark Scheifele is looking to make another big step forward.