As we continue to take a look at what the Winnipeg Jets’ lineup might look like with the roster as it’s currently constructed, it’s time to figure out a possible third line. Last season, the popular “GST” (Tanner Glass, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn) line got its share of opportunities as the Jets’ third line.
That group of guys is probably better suited as a fourth line and Tanner Glass is gone anyway, signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That means we’ll have some different looks at who will make up the bottom six. After putting together the first and second lines over the last couple of days, here’s what we have left on the current roster as candidates for line three:
Nik Antropov, Kyle Wellwood, Jim Slater
Antti Miettinen, Chris Thorburn
We’ll start by making the only true left winger of this group, Alexei Ponikarovsky a part of this line. He doesn’t get the job merely by default, because he can play a solid two-way game and chip in some goals for you, which is basically all you can ask from a third liner. The Winnipeg Jets signed him to give the team some depth and that’s exactly what he’ll provide.
There are plenty of options at center, with five on the roster. In this spot, I’m going with Nik Antropov. Is he inconsistent? He is, but his size (6’6” 245lbs.) and scoring ability make him an ideal third line center. Jim Slater gives you everything every night, but isn’t as gifted as Antropov.
You’re probably thinking I’ll go with either Miettinen or Thorburn for the right wing spot, which would make sense, but I’m going to shift Kyle Wellwood there from the center position. Wellwood put up some pretty good numbers last year and can also get to the dirty areas and grind it out. He’ll probably bounce around the lineup a lot, but I think he can find a home on the third line.
Is Ponikarovsky-Antropov-Wellwood a third line that excites you? It probably isn’t, but to me at least, it makes sense. What would you do with the third line?
I’ll conclude this series on Monday as we look at a possible fourth line.