The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since moving from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011, the Winnipeg Jets have reached the Stanley Cup playoffs once.
During said time frame, the Jets have iced the likes of, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Ondrej Pavelec, Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Tobias Enstrom, Mark Scheifele, Michael Frolik, Mathieu Perreault, Jacob Trouba, Olli Jokinen, Nikolai Antropov, Mark Stuart, Al Montoya and Michael Hutchinson.
While it would’ve made for a much more high profile list, I didn’t factor in any stats from the Atlanta Thrashers or the original Jets. This list is comprised of players from 2011 to the present.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Ondrej Pavelec
Pavelec has been with the Jets since their move from Atlanta. Pavelec is in his fifth campaign with Winnipeg and has registered 99 victories and ten shutouts. In 2014-15, Pavelec set franchise single-season bests with a .920 save percentage, 2.28 goals-against average and five shutouts. Back in 2012-13, Pavelec led all goaltenders with 44 games played.
3. The Defenseman – Dustin Byfuglien
Byfuglien has also been with the Jets since their move from Atlanta. Byfuglien is in his fifth season with Winnipeg and was an All-Star in 2014-15. In Jets franchise history, Byfuglien ranks fifth in games played (294), fifth in goals (67), second in assists (138), fourth in points (205) and first in penalty minutes (374).
2. The Wild Card – Andrew Ladd
Ladd has been with the Jets since their move from Atlanta. Ladd, the captain, is in his fifth season with Winnipeg. In Jets franchise history, Ladd ranks tied for first in games played (327), first in goals (103), fourth in assists (131), second in points (234) and fifth in penalty minutes (240). Ladd has three seasons of more than 20 goals with Winnipeg.
1. The Forward – Blake Wheeler
Wheeler has been with the Jets since their move from Atlanta. Wheeler is in his fifth season with Winnipeg. In Jets franchise history, Wheeler ranks tied for first in games played (327), second in goals (100), first in assists (174) and points (274) and sixth in penalty minutes (233). Wheeler has recorded a pair of seasons with more than 20 goals with Winnipeg. In four postseason contests with Winnipeg, Wheeler has one goal.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.