The Winnipeg Jets and a Healthy Defence Corp?

The Winnipeg Jets could have 10 healthy defencemen in a few weeks! –

by Carlo Todaro –

The 2014-15 NHL season was humming right along for the Winnipeg Jets and Head Coach Paul Maurice in December then in rapid succession the top four defensemen went down with long-term injuries.

Due largely to coach Maurice’s plug & play system, the Winnipeg Jets have more than held their own in the standings.  However, the time will come when most if not all the injured top four will be back.  When that happens, the problem will be on the right side of the Winnipeg Jets defence where they will have Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Paul Postma.

This leaves Paul Maurice with some tough decisions.  Does he want Dustin Byfuglien to remain on defence where his play has been nothing short of stellar or does he move him back to forward knowing that he has a “Grade A” option at his disposal anytime he needs it?  More than likely, the only way Buff stays on defence is if one of the top 3 right-handers moves to left .  The reason being is the way Zach Bogosian, Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien eat up minutes, Maurice would need a 75 minute game to make them happy.  The Winnipeg Jets tried Bogo last year with Trouba and it didn’t work out.

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien

                       Should big Dustin Byfuglien be a forward or a defenceman?                  photo by Shawn Coates

Trouba is in his second year so I don’t think they will even ask him as they don’t want to mess with his development so that leaves Byfuglien.  If that happens then that means Jacob Trouba, Zach Bogosian, Paul Postma on the right and Toby Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Stuart on the left.  This leaves out Ben Chiarot, Adam Pardy and Jay Harrison all lefties and Grant Clitsome on the right.  In this scenario more than likely two of the lefties would have to go either by trade or on waivers back to the AHL.  The way Chiarot has played it is unlikely he would clear waivers (after having played 10 games) so that leaves Harrison and Pardy as the likely two to go.  In the other scenario, Byfuglien moves back to forward and things would look a bit simpler with Bogosian, Trouba, Postma on the right and Enstrom, Stuart, and one of Chiarot, Harrison, Pardy as the third left defenceman.  This would mean one would have to go and the most likely is Pardy with Harrison as a maybe.

Paul Maurice

Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice will have some tough decisions soon! photo by Shawn Coates

One other option is to trade their highest paid left-handed depth defenceman Mark Stuart.  He would be the easiest of the top four defenceman to replace and he would bring back the best return in a trade than any of the others.  Coach Maurice and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have some big decisions to make depending on how they want to shape this Winnipeg Jets team for a serious playoff push.  It should prove for some interesting times coming up for a Winnipeg Jets team that never seems to be short on things for their fans to talk about.

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Comments

  1. George Bain says:

    Interesting article as I have been thinking about the future decisions Chevaldayoff will make or not make. I like to put on a GM hat on and in no way could I match what some of the GM’s in the NHL do, but here goes. I would trade Bogosian. Why? He is a great athlete but every year he is injured. If Byfuglien is back on defence on a permanent basis then moving him for forward help I think would be a good move. I like Stuart’s compete level too much to trade him. Morrissey will most likely make the team next year and I would rather spend the money on Trouba than Bogosian.
    On the goaltender situation I would not sign Pavelec to an extension as I see Hutchinson and Helebuyck as our future goaltenders.
    Anyway that’s my two cents worth

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