Winnipeg missed out on the postseason by eight points in 2011-12 and by a measly four points last season. That makes it six seasons since the franchise's one and only playoff appearance in the spring of 2007, when the Thrashers were swept out of the first round by the New York Rangers.
There is no shortage of talent in Winnipeg, where Evander Kane leads the offense and blueliners Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom create havoc from the back end.
The Jets added forwards Devin Setoguchi and Michael Frolik via trades this summer, but those moves may not be enough to keep pace in a new division and conference. Winnipeg played the last two seasons in the now-defunct Southeast Division, which was often the weakest division in the league.
This season, the Jets switch from the East to the West, conference wise, to join the Central Division, which expects to be much tougher than the Southeast. Not only will the Central be the home of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, but the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild also expect to challenge for the division title, while the Jets, Colorado, Dallas and Nashville simply try to stay afloat.
Claude Noel is back for a third season behind the bench, but he could be in the hot seat if the Jets struggle to find their footing in their new surroundings. Meanwhile, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff earned a vote of confidence before the season when the Winnipeg brass gave him an unspecified extension earlier this month.
FORWARDS - Kane has been criticized as brash and immature, but he also happens to be the Winnipeg forward with the highest ceiling.
Atlanta selected Kane with the fourth overall pick of the 2009 draft and he has shown goal-scoring skills from Day 1. After recording 14 and 19 goals for the Thrashers in 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively, he exploded for 30 goals in 74 contests during the 2011-12 season.
While playing in all 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, Kane posted 17 goals and 33 points to finish third on the team in both categories. Having recently turned 22 years of age, Kane could be due for his biggest season yet in 2013-14.
Kane played left wing on the second line last season and he'll likely stay in that spot, as Noel isn't expected to break up the successful unit of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler.
Ladd led Winnipeg in scoring from the top left wing spot in 2013, recording 46 points on 18 goals and a team-best 28 points. Wheeler plays the opposite wing and notched a team-leading 19 goals to go with 22 helpers.
While both of his wingers are capable of reaching 20 goals and beyond, Little busies himself with distributing the puck. Little had seven goals and 25 assists in 48 games last season.
One of Cheveldayoff's goals this offseason was to get Kane some help on the second line and he hopes to have achieved it with the trade for Setoguchi, who cost the Jets a second-round pick in the 2014 draft. The former 30-goal scorer has recorded 19 or more tallies in four different seasons and he had 13 goals and 27 points in 48 games for Minnesota in 2013.
The second-line center spot was Olli Jokinen's job last year, but he could lose it to youngster Mark Scheifele this season.
The 34-year-old Jokinen had just seven goals and seven assists in 45 games for the Jets last season. Although the 20-year-old Scheifele only has managed one goal in 11 career games, he was the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft and could be in line for a breakout year if he wins the second-line center job.