By Scott Billeck
The Winnipeg Jets got their training camp underway on Wednesday, but Thursday was the first time all 58 invitees got a chance to skate with their teammates and coaches. The positive atmosphere around the Jets is palpable and their expectations are set on making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I think the playoffs,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd after the morning scrimmage. “That has got to be an expectation each and every year in my mind.”
Ladd, who has been the Jets captain since the move from Atlanta in 2011, says that it is a new season and that some key additions to the roster have taken them to the next level.
“I think every year is different, first and foremost,” stated Ladd. “We’ve added some really good parts to our team and there have been some holes that we have tried to fill those holes and add to our team with guys like (Devin) Setoguchi and (Michael) Frolik. You hope that those young guys, like (Jacob) Trouba and maybe (Mark) Scheifele, can maybe step in and fill the voids.”
Zach Bogosian was also asked about his expectations for the season. His response was similar and maybe even more focused that Ladd’s.
“To win,” said Bogosian. “I said it the other day, it is nice to just think about getting into the playoffs first and then anything can happen after that. Our goal is to win a championship here and getting into the playoffs would be the first thing and then going from there.”
When asked if the season would be a failure if the Jets didn’t make the playoffs after locking up their core group of players, Bogosian responded very bluntly.
“I am not thinking about not making the playoffs,” said Bogosian. “We need to have that positive outlook that we are going to make it, we will worry about that when we cross that road. But for now, we are going out there to win and get into the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, Jets free agent signing, Devin Setoguchi, took to the ice for the first time with his teammates. With expectations that he will play on the second line with Evander Kane and potentially Mark Scheifele, Setoguchi preferred to think just about playing his game and impressing the coaching staff.
“Too soon,” said Setoguchi about where he fits in. “The coaches just want us to go out there and put in the work, kind of get through the systems and get used to it. I think a lot of the guys took the first day in and did a good job as far as working hard. I thought today was kind of just a feeler day.”
Setoguchi will be called upon to return to his former, productive self as a Winnipeg Jet. While scoring 50 goals again may be too big of an expectation, Setoguchi is confident he can contribute and be an impact on this Jets team.
“It is all on us, it starts today,” said Setoguchi. “I can help out by scoring some goals and playing well defensively.”
The Jets are right back at it tomorrow with practice starting at 9:15 a.m. at the MTS Iceplex.