ANALYSIS: How different will Jets look when puck drops on 2024-25 season?

How different will the Winnipeg Jets look when the puck drops for the start of the 2024-25 season? Some of that depends on how many — or how few — prospect players are inserted into the lineup.

We know for sure there will be a new head coach behind the bench, but that’s where 100 per cent certainty ends, and the guessing game begins.

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If the Jets are indeed ready to move on from Nikolaj Ehlers, and if a deal can’t be done to retain pending unrestricted free agent Sean Monahan, a “kid line” could be one of the many possibilities that fall into the category of “nothing is off the table.”

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Is Kevin Cheveldayoff tempted to go with a potential combination of Cole Perfetti, Brad Lambert and Nikita Chibrikov up front?

The other three forward lines could remain intact, unless there’s a decision to go with a hybrid of youth and experience.

Monahan could be re-signed, or the versatility of Vlad Namestnikov and Alex Iafallo comes into play. Then maybe it’s one of Lambert or Chibrikov who gets promoted, based on what they show at training camp and the preseason.

If Ehlers is traded, do the Jets get a top-six forward, top-four calibre defenceman, or draft picks in return?

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On the blueline, I can’t help but think common ground will be found to keep Dylan DeMelo in a Winnipeg uniform. Is Dylan Samberg in line for a promotion to the top four? Does cap space get cleared with a buyout of Nate Schmidt?

Carolina’s Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce are both pending UFA right shot d-men. As are Brandon Montour, Sean Walker, and Matt Roy.

And who will be Connor Hellebuyck’s new backup? Laurent Brossoit deserves to be a starter, but as we know, life isn’t always fair in the NHL.

Thomas Milic probably needs at least another year with the Moose. And there will likely be multiple veteran options at that position come July 1 to fill that need.

So many questions. And seriously, who really has all, or even some, of the answers?

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John Shannon on the Jets: Year-end review

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