Acclimatizing to a new environment is something we can all relate to. New school, new in-laws or new friends – it can all be difficult but the hardest is always a new job. Adapting can take time because its tough to get used to the new expectations of your employer. The newest additions to the Winnipeg Jets are just like the rest of us – sometimes it takes a little time to get used to the new environment. This is why we need to examine the expectations of the recent signings; will they meet, exceed or underachieve?

Derek Forbort – Underachieve 

The one-year $1 million deal for Derek Forbort signifies a ‘let’s see if you’re a top-6’ audition for the 2020-21 season. The expectations are that Forbort will average ~17:00 minutes of ice-time a game, 20 points for the season and help improve the penalty-kill. These are expectations that Forbort could fall short of for several reasons. The Minnesota native was paired with Drew Doughty during his final days in Los Angeles and, while it may be difficult to play with a former Norris Trophy winner, it also inflates your involvement and contribution. There is a reason the Kings traded Forbort to Calgary for a conditional 4th round pick: they wanted to build for the future and saw Forbort as a stopgap, not a long-term solution. Forbort has genuine boom-or-bust potential and the Jets knew that when they signed him. Injuries and the unpredictability of next season mean bottom-pairings suitable to fill-in when circumstances deem it necessary are a must. Forbort has proven he can play top-4 minutes, but the expectation will be that he does it with Pionk or Demelo, not Doughty.

Forbort has been unable to crack the 20-point mark in his career while playing with one of the best offensive defenceman in the NHL. The former 15th overall pick’s stint in Calgary was short and unimpressive… but acclimatizing to a new team is not an easy task. Will it take some time for Forbort to find his footing in the ‘Peg? This is that boom-bust factor attached to Forbort that makes his expectations clouded with uncertainty. The Jets blueline needs to be better because there has never been a goalie to be awarded back-to-back Vezina Trophies, meaning Hellebuyck won’t be able to bail them out every night. This means Forbort will be shouldering more responsibility than he did in Los Angeles and Calgary. Best case ‘boom’ scenario: he fills in top-4 minutes when needed, breaks his 20-point ceiling and clears sight-lines for Hellebuyck with his 6’4”, 216 lbs frame. This is unlikely, meaning the ‘bust’ is more probable.

The Jets need help along the left-side and Derek Forbort can fill that role immediately. This acquisition will allow Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg to develop, if they are unable to secure themselves a roster spot. Interesting tidbit – the addition of Forbort brings another member to the ‘Minnesota Mafia’ of Wheeler, Pionk, C.J. Suess, Dominic Toninato and Dylan Samberg. Familiar faces could make the transition for Forbort a little easier, but he will need to find his footing fast as the aforementioned prospects and Lucas Sbisa will be looking to solidify themselves a spot in the top-6. Averaging more than six hits per game, this big-bodied defenceman will need to continue throwing his body around in order to maintain that physicality in a heavy Central Division. Jets fans will hope Forbort exceeds the expectations bestowed upon him, but they should also know that – unless Hellebuyck defies history – the Jets need to score goals to compensate for their mediocre blueline. They squandered a Vezina-winner last year and now the expectation is that the defence steps-up because Hellebuyck might not be there to bail them out every night.