September 18, 2011
Jets could prove to be high-flyersScoring punch and depth underrated, Kane says
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Where will the goals come from?
It’s a question that is asked almost every day in this town, as the Winnipeg Jets make their return to the NHL.
As the team took to the ice for the first sessions of training camp, the question was prevalent again.
“A lot of our offence is by committee and that’s not a bad thing,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “We’re going to have to work for our goals, but we’re ready to do that.”
Last year’s Atlanta Thrashers had Ladd as the leading scorer with 29 goals and 59 points. Next were defencemen Dustin Byfuglien (20 goals, 53 points) and Tobias Enstrom (10 goals, 51 points).
With guys like Zach Bogosian and Ron Hainsey on the point as well, the blue-liner is expected to continue to contribute offensively. But the forwards need to increase their production as well.
“Hopefully some from me,” said Evander Kane, who had 19 goals and 43 points as a sophomore. “I think we’re underrated in that category. We have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. We’re going to have a lot more goals and be more of a high-scoring team than people think.”
“We’re going to have to get everybody involved,” added head coach Claude Noel, noting he believes there are several players who could crack the 30-goal barrier this season. “When I look at the form of our team, I don’t see a third-line checking line. We’re going to push with three lines and the fourth line too. If we can play with energy from four lines, great.”
Byfuglien believes that with another year under their belts, several young players are ready to elevate their games.
“We’ve got so many young guys, I believe a lot of guys are going to make a big step,” said Byfuglien. “We’ve got a new place, a new opportunity, everyone is starting fresh. All we have to do is go out there and have fun and keep playing.We’re looking to get better in every department. That’s our main goal.”