Yesterday I came up with a possible first line for the Winnipeg Jets by taking a look at the team’s most talented forwards and putting together a group of players that could complement each other. I ended up with a top line of Evander Kane, Alex Burmistrov and Blake Wheeler.
With Kane, Burmi and Wheeler leading the way, who are some possibilities for the second line?
Andrew Ladd, Alexei Ponikarovsky
Olli Jokinen, Kyle Wellwood
Bryan Little, Antti Miettinen
Out of this collection of players, there is a decent combination of skill and grit. Since this is a scoring line, which of these players can perform as a group to make an impact on the score sheet?
Left wing should be an easy decision, as Andrew Ladd has come close to 30 goals the last two seasons. He’s the team’s captain and has been able to add some scoring touch to his hard-nosed style of play. A case can be made for him playing on the top line, but I elected to put Evander Kane there instead.
Kyle Wellwood had some success last season, but the Jets signed Olli Jokinen to add offense. Winnipeg hopes their most significant offseason acquisition has some tread left on the tires to help give the team some desperately needed firepower. Like Ladd, Jokinen can mix it up and play with physicality, but his playmaking skills could really mesh well with the Jets’ captain.
On the right, side Bryan Little has a plenty of skill and can start plays as well as finish them. He’s a former 30-goal scorer and he showed some stretches last year that he could be a dangerous player. Little can play a two-way game, and like Ladd and Jokinen, won’t shy from contact. With size provided by Jokinen and Ladd, Little may be able to get some better looks and utilize his powerful shot.
So there you have it. Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little would flank Olli Jokinen as the second line if I were coaching the Jets. Do you like this combination? What would you do?
Be sure to come back tomorrow to take a look at how the third line might shake out.