Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 4

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.

Happy New Year 

1. NHL:  As of today all 31 teams will have officially opened training camp and it looks like there will really be NHL hockey starting on Jan. 13.  There will be no pre-season games and a short season of 56 games with the intent of getting the 2021-22 season back on track in its regular timeline.   

2. NHL:  The NHL and the provinces came to an agreement to let the Canadian-based teams play in their home rinks this season and now that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has started I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some fans in Canadian rinks before the end of the season.  This hasn’t been discussed, this is just me speculating.

 3. Jets:  The three Winnipeg Jets prospects playing at the U20 WHC have looked pretty good in my opinion.  Ville Heinola is very poised and efficient at this level, and Cole Perfetti looks like he could be a second-line center in a couple of years.  Perfetti looks like he will be a good playmaker with a pass-first mentality.  Henri Nikkanen, the big left-winger has shown off his skating ability.  He was a projected first-rounder but injuries saw his stock plummet all the way down to the fourth round.  The prevailing opinion after the draft was the Winnipeg Jets got away with highway robbery getting him in the fourth round.  Time will tell.

4. Jets:  I think under-sized Ville Heinola has a very good chance to be a regular in the Winnipeg Jets lineup this season.  I love everything about his game but his size concerns me.  I think he needs a partner with some size to compliment his game much like the pairing of Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom.   

5. Jets:  Jack Roslovic has officially asked to be traded.  Roslovic thinks he is a top 6 forward there is nothing wrong with that, as long as he and his agent understand that Chevy won’t trade him unless he gets top 6 value in return and I would be shocked if that happened  

6. Jets:  I don’t why I continually set myself up for disappointment but I get sucked in every single time.  I’m talking about Chevy’s presser last week where he announced he will have a couple of players invited to training camp on PTOs.  I was hoping for a couple of local boys like Travis Hamonic and/or Madison Bowey might be on Chevy’s radar but when the training camp roster came out on Friday there was no such luck.  Two-time Stanley Cup winner Trevor Lewis was the most notable invite but the 33-year-old ex-LA King will be hard-pressed to make this team.   

7. NHL:  The rules for NHL rosters for the 2021 season are the same except for the addition of the taxi squad.  The NHL rosters will stay at a maximum of 23 players with all the normal implications of the salary cap.  One new thing will be each team is to have a taxi squad with a minimum of 4 players and a maximum of 6 players, that must include one goalie.  The taxi squad will be with the NHL team, practice with the NHL, and travel with the NHL team but they are not counted against the roster of the NHL team.

8. NHL:  The Dec. 24 and 27 deadlines for NHL players to opt-out of the upcoming season due to Covid concerns has come and gone with no opt-outs from any of last year’s players.

9. Jets:  For this season the number of games for an Entry Level Contract to be activated is now seven (pro-rated) instead of the usual ten games.  If a player plays in a seventh game his contract officially kicks in.  

Will Cole Perfetti play more than 6 games.

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10. Jets:  Many hockey people thought Jack Roslovic was drafted way too early and that he was not a first-rounder and maybe not even a second-rounder.  In fairness, it is always hard to evaluate the third player on a stacked line.  When Jacko was on the USNDT he was on a line with Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk and they put up monster numbers but he was always considered the third-wheel.  This isn’t the first or the last time this will happen with super-lines.    

11. Jets:  Winnipeg Jets prospect Ville Heinola was named Finland’s “Player of the Game” in their quarter-final win over Sweden.  Heinola even drew comparisons to Jets legend Lars-Erik Sjoberg from Craig Button, which is pretty high praise. 

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • Jan. 13 – Season opener
  • Feb. 1 – Teams may start requesting players waive their NMC for the expansion draft
  • Feb. 11 – Deadline to sign Group II RFAs (usually December 1)
  • Mar. 12 – Players on one-year deals can sign extensions (usually Jan. 1)
  • Apr. 12 – Trade Deadline
  • May 8 – End of the regular season
  • May 11 – 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. NHL:  Put this in the better late than never file but finally, finally, finally the NHL has come to their senses and modified the offside rule.  Rule 83.1 now reads that a player’s skate will no longer have to be in contact with the ice (blue-line) in order to be onside as long as his skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge of the blue-line.  He is now deemed to be onside as long as he is straddling the blueline.  This should greatly cut down the amount of offside coaches challenge.

14. Jets:  If Trevor Lewis manages to get a contract with the Jets I hope some of his championship experience and work ethic rubs off on this team.  Most fans don’t realize it but the Winnipeg Jets are one of the younger teams in the NHL.  

15. Pet Peeve:  During the Sweden/Finland quarter-final on Saturday, Swedish forward Elmer Soderblom (6′ 8″) scored a beauty between the legs goal on the powerplay and during the post-game wrap-up one of the TSN analysts (not sure which one) said Soderblom showed nice hands for a big man.  Every time I hear something like this I bristle, big men can’t have soft hands?  Have you ever seen Mario or Buff or Beliveau play hockey?  Size isn’t an indicator of skill or lack of skill.   

16. Jets:  Schedule

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch


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