Last week, I wrote about possible first, second and third lines for the Winnipeg Jets. This post is the fourth and final part of the series, and we’ll round out the rest of the forward corps by looking at who will occupy the fourth line.
As I mentioned in the post about the third line, The “GST Line” of Tanner Glass, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn got third-line minutes some nights even though most people would think of them more as a fourth line. Even though the Jets liked Glass, talks broke down between the two parties and Glass is now a Pittsburgh Penguin.
Based on the roster as it’s currently constructed, Slater and Thorburn take up two of the fourth line spots and Antti Miettinen can join them on one of the wings. None of these three will excite you in anyway, but they won’t hurt you playing fourth line minutes either. With added depth in the form of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Olli Jokinen, these guys should have limited roles. Miettinen could be a third line guy, as he’s been a productive defensive forward that can chip in some goals, but he missed about half of last season and I like Kyle Wellwood and Ponikarovsky as better third line options. Also, Miettinen did see some time with Slater and Thorburn near the end of the season.
Jim Slater’s value comes in his ability to win draws and kill penalties as well. At the end of the year, he even showed a knack for scoring a timely goal. He earned himself a nice raise and is an easy guy to root for, however no one should expect him to fill up a score sheet.
Chris Thorburn is the true mucker of this line. With Glass gone, expect Thorburn to fully embrace the “tough guy” role. According to hockeyfights.com, Thorburn dropped the gloves 11 times last year and won about half of them. He’s another guy who is rarely going to make a scoring impact, so he’ll have to employ his physicality and limit his penalties to smart ones in order to contribute on this team.
So there you have it, the fourth line can now be named after the rink in which the Jets play. The “MTS Line” could have a nice ring to it. Don’t you think? Please share your thoughts on the line up in the comments section below.