Winnipeg Jets Fans: You Pick Your Team

Hey Winnipeg Jets fans.  It’s your team, you pick it.  Everybody has their favourites and their whipping boys so take this opportunity to pick your Jets team for next season.

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Winnipeg Jets Options and Thoughts For Next Season

Winnipeg Jets changes and possible improvements –

I would like to see the Winnipeg Jets start developing more players on their roster and if that means 4th line deployment so be it.  Roster blocking young players like David Gustafsson, Ville Heinola, Jansen Harkins, and Kristian Vesalainen for aging veterans like Nate Thompson, Trevor Lewis, and Jordie Benn makes no sense. 

Paul Maurice gets criticized for leaning on his aging vets but if Chevy keeps enabling him by signing and/or trading for these types of players Paul Maurice will continue to play them.  So, who is really to blame? 

To be fair I thought Lewis and Thompson did a pretty decent job on the fourth line BUT did they really move the needle enough and were they difference makers?  Hell no.

A fourth line of Gustafsson, Harkins, Vesalainen/Perreault could have probably done the same job while earning valuable experience. 

New vision:  Coaching 

Based on Mark Chipman’s history of loyalty I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the Winnipeg Jets will keep the status quo and Kevin Cheveldayoff and Paul Maurice will be back next season, but how long is their leash?  I feel both should be on a short leash but probably more so the coach. 

This team is in dire need of a new system.  Paul Maurice needs to implement a system that doesn’t revolve around Connor Hellebuyck facing the most high danger chance in the league and having to make 30 plus saves a every night. 

The system is problematic.  This hybrid man to man system and chasing their check all over the defensive zone looks confusing and it is not working.  Too many players have their backs to the puck while following a man who isn’t a threat.  Maybe this group can’t execute it, whatever, it is not working.

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Paul Maurice’s biggest problem is his infatuation with 35-year-old plugs, he needs to start teaching and trusting the younger players in the organisation.  It was a criminal that Ville Heinola and David Gustafsson were in the AHL and Jansen Harkins was used so sparingly.

Today’s young players are different than young players 20 years ago.  Some of these kids are already playing prominent roles 2-3 years into the league and a lot of them are NHL ready coming right out of junior or college.  Some only need only a half season at the AHL level.  Paul Maurice needs to adapt his thinking on the organisation’s youth.

New vision:  GM

I’m tend to be harder on the GM than I am on the coach but I will concede that Kevin Cheveldayoff might have one of the hardest jobs in the NHL.  Chevy has to contend with no movement clauses, warm weather franchises, and teams that play in States with no State Taxes.  Jets fans were clamoring for him to sign UFA Alex Pietrangelo last summer but was there ever a chance he could have lured Alex Pietrangelo to Winnipeg?  HELL NO.

Of course I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors but Chevy has to be more pro-active and set his sights on trade targets and latch on to him/them like a dog on a bone.  Waiting and hoping for prices to drop around the trade deadline isn’t working.  Overpay if need be, especially if you’re getting the man you want. 

Winnipeg’s fans are smart enough and will understand that’s the price of doing business in this market.  Chevy is a typical Winnipeger, trying to get things wholesale and shopping from the bargain bin.  Enough of the Thompsons, Bitettos, Letestus, and Bourques.

Toronto and Montreal signed older veterans players like Jason Spezza, Cory Perry, and Eric Staal but they were front-line players in their prime not career 4th-liners.  That kind of veteran depth is acceptable and especially at playoff time.

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When it comes to free agency the only way to attract big time free agents is to throw money at them.  It doesn’t cost you assets from your roster, it’s only money.  Yes, this will be tough with a flat cap but so be it.  Figure it out.  If you think a player will move the needle on your roster go get him. 

This might be perceived as a naive notion but the status quo isn’t working.  There isn’t one team that’s ever won a Stanley Cup by just drafting and developing.  D and D is a big part of building a championship team along with trades that improve the team using picks and prospect currency then and augmented with significant UFA signings.  This is a must and Kevin Cheveldayoff has a marginal grade in his trading and and a losing grade in his UFA acquisitions. 

Next season’s roster:

We don’t know who we are protecting and/or losing to Seattle in the expansion draft so let’s just go with what we know now.  Same with trade and UFA targets.  I’ll throw a couple names out there just for conversation.    

 Untouchables: 

  • Connor Hellebuyck 
  • Nikolaj Ehlers
  • Mark Scheifele

Almost untouchable:

  • Pierre-Luc Dubois
  • Ville Heinola
  • Cole Perfetti
  • Dylan Samberg
  • Adam Lowry
  • Kyle Connor … I would be open to shopping him and reinvesting that money. $7,142,857 for 5 more seasons is a lot of money for a one dimensional player that is a defensive liability AND disappears when the games get heavy.  In saying this he is still a very good offensive player and maybe he matures and develops/improves his 200 foot game.  Either way he is still a prime asset.
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UFA targets: 

  • Dougie Hamilton … I’m dreaming but offer him $9,000,000 – $10,000,000.
  • Brandon Montour
  • Mike Reilly
  • Adam Larsson
  • David Savard
  • Jamie Oleksiak

Trade Targets:

  • Seth Jones … with the intention of extending, sign and trade. (I’m not buying into his poor analytics)
  • Josh Manson 
  • Mattais Ekholm … with the intention of extending, sign and trade.   

Lose one to Seattle and/or move and reinvest these dollars:

  • Blake Wheeler … overpaid at $8,250,000 for 3 more seasons but I don’t think he is done yet.   
  • Josh Morrissey … $6,250,000 for 7 more seasons … although I’m fine with bringing him back.
  • Mason Appleton
  • Sami Niku

Re-sign: 

  • Andrew Copp (26-RFA) … if he he doesn’t price himself out of the market. 
  • Laurent Brossoit (28- UFA) … Michail Berdin isn’t ready yet.
  • Neal Pionk (25-RFA) … no-brainer.

Bring back:

  • Dylan DeMelo … borderline untouchable.
  • Jansen Harkins
  • Logan Stanley … major surprise, made great strides.
  • Kristian Vesalainen 

On the fence:

  • Tucker Poolman (27-UFA) … Wait and see and only resign at depth defenceman money.
  • Paul Stastny (35-UFA) … I might re-sign Stastny but it would need to be at a much reduced number. He would be an excellent mentor for Cole Perfetti.
  • Mathieu Perreault (33-UFA) … I have a lot of time for MP.  Try and re-sign on a two-way contract around $1,000,000 or offer him a position within the org.  I could see him working for TNSE in the future. 

Drop back and kick:

  Thank-you for your service but it is time to play the kids. 

  • Nate Thompson (36-UFA)
  • Trevor Lewis (34-UFA)
  • Jordie Benn (33-UFA)
  • Dominic Toninato (27-UFA) … maybe bring him back on a 2-way deal. (UPDATE: Resigned for 2 years)
  • Derek Forbort (29-UFA)
  • Nathan Beaulieu … one more year left at $1,250,000. Should be a buyout candidate but won’t be.

Final thought:

After the dust settles and we analyze this Winnipeg Jets team there is still a lot to like.  It is far, far from a perfect team but it is definitely fixable. 

Paul Maurice needs to adapt and Kevin Cheveldayoff will need to have the best off-season in his tenure as Winnipeg’s GM because next year in the Central Division will be no picnic.  

Colorado, St. Louis, and Minnesota will probably be in the top 3 with improving teams like Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, and Arizona knocking on the door as well.

Readers thoughts:

Please fire off the names of some trade targets and UFAs you would like to see here.  I listed a couple off the top of my head but there is many more options out there.

Post or reply in the comment section.

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: June 7

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned. 

2021 MEN’S WORLD HOCKEY CHAMPIONS

CONGRATS to Cole Perfetti on a winning a Gold Medal with Team Canada.

Perfetti had a breakout season in the AHL and also received a Silver Medal at the World Juniors. 

1. JetsThey say you’re not in trouble in a playoff series until you lose two home games.  Well the Winnipeg Jets are officially in trouble.  To make matters worse they were outmuscled and outworked in game three and are now on the brink of elimination.  I can’t believe this team completely collapsed just because they’re missing Mark Scheifele and Dylan DeMelo.  This team obviously has deeper issues starting with the GM, the coaching, and the players but we’ll look at that in the future. 

I had no illusions or delusions about this Winnipeg Jets team winning the Stanley Cup this season, they are a very flawed team but man I really want to win the Scotia North Division and see that banner hanging in the home barn.

The first round sweep of Edmonton will get me through the off-season though. 

UPDATE:

The Winnipeg Jets went down in game 4 with barely a whimper.  Thanks to 2 goals by Logan Stanley and a stellar effort by Connor Hellebuyck they actually got this game to overtime but it was over within the first two minutes.  It was a pathetic display considering the Jets were playing for their lives.  In a game where they somehow got to overtime and had a chance to win it was undoubtedly their worst effort in the playoffs.  They were outshot 42-16 and were outmuscled and outworked in both ends of the ice. 

THE SWEEPERS GOT SWEPT.    

2. Jets:  The big news this past week was the Mark Scheifele suspension.   

What is your reaction to the Mark Scheifele's 4-game suspension?

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3. Jets:  Kyle Connor MIA again.  Not only is he lost in the defensive side of the game, he is completely lost without Mark Scheifele.  I’ve always said he was line-mate dependent and he earned a juicy $7,142,857 per season riding Mark Scheifele’s coat tails.  Ditto, Blake Wheeler with 3 more years at $8,250,000 per season.

4. Jets:  FYI:  The Winnipeg Jets were 6-3-0 vs the Montreal Canadiens in the regular season and the Habs were 3-3-3 vs the Jets BUT the Jets were 4-1 vs Jake Allen and only 2-2 vs Carey Price.  

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019. 

FYI:  If the Jets don’t cut this deal with Vegas they might have taken Nick Suzuki instead of trading down and getting Kristian Vesalainen.  It’s too early to call this deal but the early returns certainly favour Suzuki. 

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. IIHF:  Quarter-final – The Team Canada upset win over the heavily favoured Russian team was one of the highlights of the week for me.  Canadian hockey players never fail to amaze me how they can band together and do the impossible at times.     

7. Jets:  Kyle Connor’s fly-by on the only goal scored in game two just magnifies how important every little play is in a game and especially the playoffs.  It is quite well documented that KC is not a good defensive player but his lack of commitment to the defensive part of the game is worrisome for me.  He reminds me a lot of Blake Wheeler in the early days.  Wheeler really changed and improved his 200 foot game so maybe there is some hope for KC but I doubt it.       

8. Jets:  When Dylan DeMelo is out of the lineup you really notice how important he is to Josh Morrissey and this Winnipeg Jets team.  It takes a lot of pressure off Tucker Poolman who looks a lot better in the Jets third defence pairing.  Poolman just can’t handle first pairing match-ups and minutes.  It also brings Chevy’s big trade deadline acquisition Jordy Benn into the lineup and he is basically useless.   

9. IIHF:  Semi-final – Team Canada once again pulled off the upset in beating a very good Team USA squad 4-2 and guaranteeing themselves at least a silver medal.  Nobody had them in the Gold Medal game after starting 0-3 but here they are.  Since the arrival of Andrew Mangiapane this has been a different team.

10. Jets:  I’ve liked a lot of Pierre-Luc Dubois’s game, he does a lot of good, subtle things but I’ve reached the point where I need to see more.  It’s playoff time and like most Jets fans, I’m running out of patience.  

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11. IIHFThe women’s world hockey championship will take place this summer in Calgary after the event was cancelled in Nova Scotia earlier this year.  The 10-country tournament will take place Aug. 20-31 at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park.  I am a big fan of women’s international hockey, this will be much better than that Dream Gap Tour that was played in May.  Finally some women’s hockey I can get interested in.

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 15 – Playoffs begin
  • June 2 – NHL Draft Lottery (Buffalo won)
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

UPDATE:

After sweeping the Edmonton Oilers I thought the brain trust probably earned some good will and saved their jobs for another season BUT this brutal showing versus Montreal has put BOTH CHEVY and POMO right back on the hot seat.  It is going to be an interesting off-season.  I think it’s time to clean house but that’s just me.  Please vote on our poll question.

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. MJHL:  Congrats to Niverville on being awarded a MJHL expansion franchise for the 2022-23 season.  

15. Jets:  Playoff Schedule

1. Wednesday June 2 vs Montreal 6:30 PM  (L 5-3) 

2. Friday  June 4 vs Montreal 6:30 PM (L 1-0) 

3. Sunday June 6 at Montreal 5:00 PM (L 5-1) 

4. Monday June 7 at Montreal 7:00 PM 

5. Wednesday June 9 vs Montreal (if necessary)

6. Friday June 11 at Montreal (if necessary)

7. Sunday June 13 vs Montreal (if necessary)

16. NHL:  Watching some of these post-game Zoom press conferences and some of the questions some journalists ask make me shake my head.  If you can’t come up with an intelligent question maybe just STFU.  My god there are some idiots out there.  How do you feel after losing in triple overtime?  Really?     

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

Playoff numbers:

After round one:

  • PP:  30.00% 
  • PK: 81.80%  
  • FO: 54.60%

Current:

  • PP: 16.70% …. gave up 2 short handed goals.
  • PK: 79.20% …. scored 1 short handed goal.  
  • FO: 53.20% …. Andrew Copp has had a great playoff in the faceoff circle 

18. IIHF:  Final –  IT IS OVER …. CANADA 3  Finland 2 in overtime … GOLD MEDAL

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul with the GOLDEN GOAL.

This may be one of the most unexpected Gold Medals in Canadian Hockey history and Team Canada didn’t take the easy route either.  In the quarter-finals they were heavy underdogs versus Russia, in the semi-final the were underdogs versus the Americans, and in the final they were slight underdogs versus Finland.  Never, never, never, underestimate Canadian heart.  Take note Chevy.

FYI:  In game 4 of the Winnipeg/Montreal series the Winnipeg Jets had FIVE Canadians in their lineup and Les Habitants had THIRTEEN.

19. Goaltending:

After round one:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  4-0-0 … 1.60 GAA … .950 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

Current:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  4-3-0 … 2.23 GAA … .931 SV% Helle can’t do it alone. 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

20. IIHF:  Hockey Canada has had a pretty good year to date with one more major event to come in August. 

  • 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship – GOLD
  • 2021 IIHF U20 World Championship – SILVER
  • 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship – GOLD

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In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know. We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch
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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 24

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned. 

 

SWEEP

1. Jets:  After the Winnipeg Jets big comeback on Sunday night they now lead the Edmonton Oilers 3 games to none.  Even the most diehard Jets fan couldn’t have imagined that.  Based on the poll question so far it looks like Jets fans think the Oilers win in a short series or the Jets win in a long series. 

UPDATE:   

IT IS OVER

The WINNIPEG JETS did the unthinkable and swept the Edmonton Oilers in four games after a triple OT win on a brilliant snipe from Kyle Connor.

For me and all the other older fans that were victims of so many losses to the hated Edmonton Oilers this win is special and the sweep makes it even sweeter.

THANK-YOU WINNIPEG JETS. 

Who wins the Jets vs Oilers series?

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2. Jets:  Although he didn’t score in game 2 versus the Oilers I thought this was the most engaged I’ve seen Kyle Connor in some time.  He was the Jets best forward in my opinion and the overall play of the top line was the best 200 ft effort I’ve seen them play in years.  Game 3 was a different story.  KC was awful defensively and Mark Scheifele was a little late on the back-check on Zack Kassian’s goal although I believe Kassian might have been KC’s man.  I’m not a fan of matching the Scheifele line versus the McDavid line but their play in the playoffs has been much better than it was during the regular season.

UPDATE:  

The line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler were the best line on the ice and lead their team to victory.  They combined for 3 goals and 3 assists and were dangerous all night.  KC scored the OT winner and had a beauty setup on Scheif’s tying goal in the 3rd period.  The big line earned some much needed redemption. 

3. Jets:  Pierre-Luc Dubois returned for game 2 and I thought he played well with Andrew Copp and Paul Stastny but I thought he was much better playing with Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers in game 3 (2 assists).    

4. Jets:  Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers didn’t dress for game 1 or 2 but was ready for game 3 and boy did the “Great Dane” deliver.  Ehlers sniped a beauty on the Jets PP in the second period to get them back into the game at that time but saved his best for last.  After a miracle comeback in the back half on the 3rd period (tribute to Dennis Beyak) Ehlers converted a masterful face off win by Paul Stastny by sniping the OT winner past Mike Smith.  The Winnipeg Jets are a different team with #27 in the lineup.  He is their best winger and he proved it again.     

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. NHL:  It is quite obvious that the NHL has reverted back to it’s old ways and playoff hockey will be officiated differently than regular season hockey.  Now the trick is for GMs to find that balance and build their teams accordingly.  I really like the way this Jets team is constructed right now.  They can play the game any way you want.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that they get Vezina Trophy caliber goaltending. 

7. Jets:  I said this last week and so far the officials are letting them play for the most part.

UPDATE: 

Game 4 had plenty of powerplays for both sides but the officials let the teams decide it in overtime.  There was a couple of calls but the were too obvious to ignore.  One was a “puck over glass”. 

Special teams are huge come playoff time.  The Jets PK looks to be solid but defending against the Oilers PP is a tall order and the best defence against this is to stay out of the penalty box.  I have to admit I’m concerned about the Jets PP and the way it has stagnated down the stretch.  Hopefully the officials don’t turn this into a special teams battle and we see lots of 5 on 5 hockey.   

8. Jets:  I’m glad to see Andrew Copp back on his regular line with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton although I’m okay with him moving up the lineup in a pinch.  I thought he was excellent in game 2 versus the Oilers.  He was very creative and dangerous offensively with nothing to show for it in regulation time but he made a great zone entry and set up Paul Stastny’s OT winner.  I also thought he created some good chances in game 3 but his best play was a back check on Leon Draisaitl in overtime.

UPDATE:

The line of Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp, and Mason Appleton drew the assignment of going head to head with the McDavid line for most of the night and they did an excellent job of slowing them down.  It is impossible to stop them but they made life hard on the Oiler’s top line and even scored against them.        

9. Jets:  This …. so far, so good. 

I believe this Winnipeg team is better equipped to beat the McDavid Oilers than Jets 1.0 were to beat the Gretzky Oilers.  Those Gretzky teams were definitely better than our Jets BUT in spite of Winnipeg’s record against them this season I don’t think this Oilers team is better than our Jets.  Of course the Jets will need to be at their best and the coaches will need to implement a winning game plan but I think we can win this series.  

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED 

Hockey is, always has been, and always be a team game. 

10. Jets:  Logan Stanley does so many little things well but the thing that stands out for me is how he uses his size and makes simple plays because of his strength and reach that smaller defencemen like Josh Morrissey struggle with.  Morrissey is playing very well but it seems he has to work twice as hard to accomplish some of the same basic plays.  Scouts always say “you can’t teach size”.

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11. JetsI’ve been very hard on Tucker Poolman but since he has been moved to the third pairing with Logan Stanley he has played very well and they look comfortable playing together.  Poolman and Stanley have been more than solid in the first three games of this series. 

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 15 – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

UPDATE:

I think the answer to the poll question is moot now.  Nobody is going anywhere.

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. Jets:  Lost in the euphoria of the Jets amazing comeback win in game 3 was Connor Hellebuyck shutting the door after Edmonton’s 4th goal.  Helle gave his team 26:04 of shutout hockey to get the job done. 

UPDATE:

Connor Hellebuyck was once again brilliant in game 4 and was key in leading his team to the 4-game sweep.   

15. Jets:  Playoff Schedule

1. Wednesday May 19 at Edmonton 8:00 PM (W 4-1)

2. Friday  May 21 at Edmonton 8:00 PM (W 1-0 OT)

3. Sunday May 23  vs Edmonton 6:30 PM (W 5-4 OT)

4. Monday May 24 vs Edmonton 8:45 PM (W 4-3 3OT)

5. Wednesday May 26 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

6. Friday May 28 vs Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

7. Sunday May 30 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

16. Jets:  Derek Forbort is an enigma wrapped in a riddle for me.  I’ve never seen a defenceman do so many good things in a game and also make so many turnovers and mistakes in a game.  Right now he might be the Jets weakest link on the blueline.  I’m not sure I agree but I can understand why Paul Maurice keeps running him out there.  He battles and he competes but I think he is a victim of too much ice-time.  He is probably better suited in the 3rd pairing but the problem is the Winnipeg Jets have an over-abundance of middle to bottom pair defenceman.  This is more of an observation than a criticism because this group is doing it’s best and on most nights gives this team a chance to win.  Better times are coming with Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg waiting in the wings.    

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

Playoff rankings:  Canadian Division

  • PP: 1st at 30.00% 
  • PK: 3rd at 81.80  
  • FO: 1st at 54.60

18. Jets:  Overall there is no direct correlation in faceoff wins dictating winning or losing a hockey game but in a series or an individual game it can be huge.  Call me crazy but I would prefer to start the play with the puck and a perfect example was overtime in game 3 when Paul Stastny won the draw clean and Nik Ehlers sniped the game-winner.        

19. Goaltending:

Playoff stats:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  4-0-0 … 1.60 GAA … .950 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

20. NHL:  Sportsnet’s Cassie Campbell’s blatant homerism when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers is embarrassing and disgraceful.  GET HER OFF NATIONAL BROADCASTS IMMEDIATLY. 

UPDATE:

I thought Cassie did a pretty good job of holding back the tears.  On a positive note it was nice to see Jennifer Botterill with that coy smile on her face.

21. Jets:  I guess there is a magic switch after all and Paul Maurice flipped it.   

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In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know. We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch
*

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 17

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned. 

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets won 2 out of 3 home games last week to end their season at 30-23-3.  After a horrible stretch of losing the Jets finished their regular season on a semi-positive note winning 3 of their last 5 games.  They now head into their first-round playoff match-up versus the heavily favoured Edmonton Oilers and most Jets fans are hoping this isn’t Jets 1.0 all over again.   

Who wins the Jets vs Oilers series?

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2. Jets:  Well it is playoff time and Jets fans are really hoping to see playoff Pierre-Luc Dubois.  I expect PLD and Adam Lowry to be huge factors in this series.   

3. JetsI love watching the IIHF World Championships but having Cole Perfetti on Team Canada makes it even more interesting.  CONGRATS COLE!

4. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose finished their season going 0-2-1-1 versus Belleville and had their streak of consecutive games gaining points snapped at 13.  Their overall record ended up being a solid 18-13-3-2 on the season.  This Moose team was a lot of fun to watch this season.  

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. NHL:  The Tampa Bay Lightning roster is currently $17,000,000 (approx) over the salary cap but the NHL doesn’t have cap restrictions for the playoffs.  Teams always find a loophole and this one looks real bad on the NHL.  This will need to be addressed because right now there are a lot of really pissed off GMs.

7. Jets:  Special teams are huge come playoff time.  The Jets PK looks to be solid but defending against the Oilers PP is a tall order and the best defence against this is to stay out of the penalty box.  I have to admit I’m concerned about the Jets PP and the way it has stagnated down the stretch.  Hopefully the officials don’t turn this into a special teams battle and we see lots of 5 on 5 hockey.   

8. Jets:  Kyle Connor has started scoring again and it couldn’t have come at a getter time.  The Winnipeg Jets need him scoring because that is his biggest contribution to this team.  If he’s not scoring he doesn’t really contribute much else.      

9. Jets:  I believe this Winnipeg team is better equipped to beat the McDavid Oilers than Jets 1.0 were to beat the Gretzky Oilers.  Those Gretzky teams were definitely better than our Jets BUT in spite of Winnipeg’s record against them this season I don’t think this Oilers team is better than our Jets.  Of course the Jets will need to be at their best and the coaches will need to implement a winning game plan but I think we can win this series.  (see #1)  

10. Jets:  The line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler have an opportunity to change the narrative that they are done as a top line.  Hopefully a healthy Blake Wheeler can get them playing the way they did a couple of years ago against Nashville.   

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11. JetsRight now, to start the playoffs I would prefer seeing Logan Stanley in the 3rd pairing over Tucker Poolman.  I’ve been really down on Poolman in the second half of this season.  If you’re a regular reader here I’m sure you are aware of that.  I haven’t been kind to him.   

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 15 – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. Jets:  Based on practice pairings ahead of Wednesday’s game one vs Edmonton it looks like the defensive pairings could be:

Morrissey/DeMelo

Forbort/Pionk

Stanley/Benn      

15. Jets:  Playoff Schedule

1. Wednesday May 19 at Edmonton 8:00 PM 

2. Friday  May 21 at Edmonton 8:00 PM 

3. Sunday May 23  vs Edmonton 6:30 PM

4. Monday May 24 vs Edmonton 8:45 PM

5. Wednesday May 26 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

6. Friday May 28 vs Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

7. Sunday May 30 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

16. Jets:  The biggest question in town is will Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers be dressed for game one?  All Jets fans have our fingers crossed because this is a different and much better team with Ehlers in the lineup.  Outside of Helle, he might be (he is) our best player.  

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

Final regular season Canadian Division rankings.

  • PP: 2nd at 23.00% down from 23.90% last week.
  • PK: 3rd at 80.50 up from 79.90% last week. 
  • FO: 3rd at 50.50 up from 50.20% last week.

18. Jets:  It took all season but it looks like Dylan DeMelo will be paired with Josh Morrissey going into the playoffs.  They played together down the stretch and looked very comfortable, just like they were last season.  I’ve also liked when Paul Maurice has paired Neal Pionk together with Morrissey when they need to push the pace and need offence.     

19. Goaltending:

Final regular season stats:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  24-17-3 … 2.58 GAA … .916 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  6-6-0 … 2.42 GAA … .918 SV%

20. Jets:  For me, Jordy Benn has been a lot better than expected.  He provides a physical presence and moves the puck better than I thought.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts in game on versus the Oilers.  (see #14)  

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