The Jets are in their penultimate game of the preseason as the Edmonton Oilers pay a visit to Winnipeg tonight. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this game beyond that. At this point of the preseason, veteran players like Mark Scheifele Mathieu Perreault are just looking to get some work in and stay healthy (that goes double for you Perreault) while other bubble players such as Gabe Bourque and CJ Suess are looking to make one final push for an NHL roster spot.

At least we’ll get to enjoy seeing Nik Ehlers on the ice again. Next to Ville Heinola, he’s been fun to watch every time he’s been on the ice. This game will also have a Connor McDavid for the other side, so hooray for actually getting to watch talented players!

Here’s the lineups for tonight’s contest, starting with the hometown side:

Laurent Brossoit gets the start tonight and I would assume is in goal for the entire game. Connor Hellebuyck likely gets the nod on Sunday in the final preseason game. We’ll also get a look at Copp in a top six forward role again and continue to pray we finally see something good offensively from Kristian Vesalainen.


I question the sanity of the Oilers for even playing McDavid in any preseason games considering the knee injury he’s coming back from, but at this point they probably would have to put a tranquilizer dart on Connor to keep him from playing hockey right now. The Oilers also are dressing Leon Draisaitl which makes for a formitable one-two punch up front, but to balance things out Mikko Koskinen is in net so don’t be surprised if the Jets get another early 1-0 lead, likely on the first shot they take.

As always, follow us on Twitter and once lines are formed and tweeted out, we’ll pass those along.

As for the game, you know the preseason has hit “meh” status when even the official team notes provided by the Jets are mostly about the Rookie Showcase that took place a month ago and the upcoming regular season. At any rate, here are three things we’re going to look out for tonight:

1 – Ville Heinola is making this team, isn’t he?

Heinola has had nothing but rave reviews throughout training camp and so after getting the game off on Tuesday against Calgary, he’ll get into tonight’s game in Edmonton and more than likely Sunday’s game in Minnesota as a final trial to see if he’s earned a spot for opening night next week in New York. He more than likely has already, but we know how these things are with someone like Paul Maurice who no doubt had a set roster in his head before camp even started, but has himself had to admit that Heinola has done everything one could have hoped to have seen from him and more during this camp. Sami Niku remains out with an injury and there was thought coming into camp that he would have made this lineup, so is it possible that Heinola will step into that spot for a handful of games in the regular season before the Jets ultimately have to make a decision on him?

2 – One final push from Gustafsson and Luoto

David Gustafsson and Joona Luoto have also had strong camps and in the preseason games they’ve played have performed really well. Luoto has a two-way contract so either way he’s going to remain in Manitoba to play hockey for the season and it’s possible that he would be one of the first call-ups should he be sent to the AHL. As for Gustafsson, the feeling was that the Jets were ready to have him stashed away in Europe for one more season before bringing him to North America full time for the 2020-21 season, but he’s played well enough to throw some doubts into that thought process. Like Heinola, it would be surprising if both of these players didn’t play the final two games of the preseason just so Maurice and the coaching staff can gather as much data and video as possible before making their final cuts.

3 – The focus on defense

The status of the team defense and who will be the final six left standing for opening night has been a topic of much discussion. The locks at this point would seem to be Morrissey, Kulikov, Pionk and Beaulieu – all of them save for Morrissey who was injured in Calgary but was skating with the non-lineup guys this morning – are in tonight’s game. We’ve already talked about Heinola. Has Tucker Poolman done enough to lock up a roster spot? Are the Jets really willing to go with Anthony Bitetto over Heinola? Sami Niku almost assuredly is bound for the Moose based on the lack of games he’s been able to get into with his injury, but once he gets some conditioning with the Moose, how long do the Jets keep him in the AHL? For this game. Bitetto is the one to watch to see if he’s going to show any improvement while Pionk has shown that he’s quite good with the puck in the offensive zone, but we need to see more out of him in his own end of the ice defending and making proper zone exits.