NHL Hockey Betting: Carolina Hurricanes at Winnipeg Jets

NHL Hockey Betting:  Carolina Hurricanes at Winnipeg Jets&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Winnipeg Jets will start their 2016-2017 season on Thursday as they host the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jets finished in last place in the brutal Central Division and despite the nasty level of competition in hockey’s best division there weren’t a lot of positives to take away from their performance. They posted a losing record both at home (18-19-4) and on the road (17-20-4) finishing 4 points behind sixth place Colorado and 9 points behind the last of the Central’s five playoff teams, the Minnesota Wild. They did end the season with some momentum going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

Carolina is a very intriguing team. They looked like they could make a playoff appearance last year but faded near the end of the season. The Hurricanes are an interesting mix of veterans like tonight’s starting goaltender Cam Ward and talented youngsters like Victor Rask, Noah Hanifan and former Blackhawks’ prospect Teuvo Teravainen. There might not be a NHL team with a wider upside/downside ‘range’. Carolina didn’t get good play from any of their goaltenders last year but if Ward and backup Eddie Lack can regain form this team could be a handful. The ‘canes have very quietly built a nice defensive corps and while their goals against average didn’t reflect that their shots against average did. Carolina had the fifth best shots against average last season behind some serious defensive powerhouses–Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Nashville.

In many ways, the Jets are similar. Goaltending was a crapshoot last year and there’s no guarantee that things will improve this year. Former starter Ondrej Pavalec was sent to the Minnesota Moose with Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson expected to split duties for now. Helleybuyck had the best year of the three last season showing impressive poise for a rookie. Only six players on the Jets’ opening day roster are over the age of 30 and the team is loaded with young talented including #2 overall draft pick Patrik Laine along with Kyle Connor, Shawn Matthias, Brandon Tanev and Josh Morrissey. If they flourish quickly at the NHL level and the Jets get better in net they could be a playoff team this year. More likely, this team will take a year or so to mature and gel.


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