Jets vs Caps: 5 things to watch for

- September 14th, 2013

BELLEVILLE, ONT. — Just a few more hours until puck drop on the Winnipeg Jets 2013-14 season — at least the pre-season edition.

The first of eight pre-season tilts goes tonight, with a puck drop set for just after 6 p.m. CT for this Kraft Hockeyville game against the Washington Capitals.

Plenty of fans who around to see the Jets and Caps take part in the morning skate.

The Jets are dressing a lineup that consists of what could be their second line — Evander Kane with Devin Setoguchi and Mark Scheifele — plus a group vying for fourth-line duty (with a shot at a third-line wing spot as well) for Jim Slater, James Wright, Chris Thorburn and Eric Tangradi, plus Zach Bogosian and Zach Redmond and Jacob Trouba on D — in addition to a combination of young prospects and guys who have primarily played in the AHL.

The Caps, meanwhile, have a lot of their front-line talent, with MVP Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer joined by Mike Green and Karl Alzner on D and Braden Holtby starting in goal, though he’s expected to give the crease to Philipp Grubauer, a former Belleville Bulls’ puck-stopper.

Kane was asked about the fact the Caps had some of their “big names” dressed for this contest.

“Yeah, they’ve got some of their big names and we’ve got a couple of our big names,” said Kane. “You know, we’ll see what happens.”

Since it’s a larger ice surface here at Yardmen Arena, the importance of getting your feet moving can’t be overstated.

“Skating, that’s the biggest thing,” said Kane. “It’s the first exhibition game of the season, so if you don’t have your legs under you now, you better get them quick.”

Not to put too much stock into what is only one pre-season game, but I’ll be among those watching how Kane meshes with Mark Scheifele and Devin Setoguchi in their first game situation together.

Both Kane and Scheifele talked about the importance of seeing if they can develop some chemistry.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what happens and we’ll try to be as productive as a unit as we can,” said Kane.

Other things on my watch list include:

1) The return of Zach Redmond

The harrowing story of his gruesome leg injury has been well-documented and Redmond has said repeatedly that he’s feeling 100% and has put the incident behind him. Redmond’s recovery remains a remarkable story and while it was impressive enough to see him rally and get into action with the St. John’s IceCaps at the end of last season, wearing the Jets jersey for the first time in a game since February is significant. It’s also important for him, because with all of the competition for jobs on the blue-line, how Redmond performs during the pre-season could mean the difference between starting the season back in the AHL or pushing to be in the Top-6 with the Jets.

2) It’s Trouba time

The 2012 first rounder signed his first pro contract late last season and finished off the campaign around the Jets but didn’t get into any game action. Now it’s his time to show that he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL. One game won’t provide an answer but the better Trouba plays and the more composed and physical he is during the pre-season, the tougher it’s going to be for the Jets to send him down to the farm. I’m on record as saying Trouba will force his way onto the club for opening day, with his combination of grit and skill. As many in the Jets’ organization like to say, Trouba will show them — and everybody else — when he’s ready.

3) Getting a chance to see 2013 second rounder Nic Petan play against NHL competition

The 5-foot-9 centre has been showing off his hockey sense and compete level with great frequency, but how will he stack up against guys who are veterans in the league. Petan has great upside and this is a chance for him to show Jets’ brass that he deserves to stick around for a long look.2)

4) How will Eddie Pasquale play?

The fourth-year netminder got called up twice last season but didn’t get into any games with the Jets. He’s worked his way up the depth chart to a solid No. 3, but this is a chance for the Toronto product to face one of the top scorers in the NHL in Ovechkin. Pasquale wants to do what he can to try and push backup Al Montoya and it’s opportunities like this that he needs to use to show if he’s more ready to play whenever that next recall opportunity comes.

5) What does JC Lipon have in store and just how smooth is Josh Morrissey?

From several accounts, Lipon had an excellent showing at the Young Stars Classic. Can he carry that over as he continues to get set for his first pro season? Lipon can skate, score and brings a physical element to the table as well. As for Morrissey, the Jets’ 2013 first rounder, it’s quickly become apparent he’s an outstanding skater and is really smart. Like for many others, this is a chance for Morrissey to see how he stacks up against high-level competition.

What will you be watching?

Here’s how the two teams plan to start the contest:

JETS
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Devin Setoguchi
Eric Tangradi-Nic Petan-Scott Kosmachuk
James-Jim Slater-JC Lipon
John Albert-Austen Brassard

Josh Morrissey-Zach Bogosian
Ben Chiarot-Jacob Trouba
Julian Melchiori-Zach Redmond

Eddie Pasquale
Eric Comrie

CAPS (thanks to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post)

Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin
Nathan Walker-Chandler Stephenson-Troy Brouwer
Aaron Volpatti-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Dane Byers-Casey Wellman-Stan Galiev

Karl Alzner-Mike Green
Jack Hillen-Steve Oleksy
Garrett Harr-Connor Carrick

Braden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer

 

Categories: Hockey

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available