by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The Winnipeg Jets missed out on winning the Central Division this past season by the slimmest of margins, as the Nashville Predators finished one point ahead of both them and the St. Louis Blues. The result was a first-round playoff matchup with the Blues, who beat the Jets in six games en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup title.
Winnipeg now hopes to put together a better season in 2019-20, which may be tough considering some key players are gone from last year’s squad, with sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com listing the team at +1600 (bet $100 to win $1600) on the latest Stanley Cup odds.
The Jets had acquired center Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline but then dealt him to the Philadelphia Flyers early in the offseason, knowing that they did not have much of a chance to re-sign him. They later traded defenseman Jacob Trouba to the Rangers leading up to the NHL Draft, as the former No. 9 overall pick was used to pick up the 20th overall pick along with fellow defenseman Neal Pionk.
Free agent defenseman Tyler Myers, who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 229 pounds, also signed a five-year deal worth $30 million with the Vancouver Canucks, further decimating a blue line that struggled to replicate its performance from 2017-18 when goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
Re-signing restricted free agent wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor remains Winnipeg’s biggest priority, as the team tries to avoid taking another step back on the offensive side.
The 21-year-old Laine totalled 50 points (30 goals and 20 assists) last season, his lowest numbers in three years since becoming the second overall pick in 2016. Meanwhile, Connor had a career-high 66 points (34 goals and 32 assists) in his third season after getting selected 17th overall in 2015.
Other teams around the league can sign them to offer sheets like the Montreal Canadiens did with Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes, who matched it to retain his services. The Jets still have a solid core of offensive players and cannot afford to lose either one if they want to make another run at the Stanley Cup and pay out on those NHL odds, so their situation is definitely worth monitoring right now.