Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: June 14

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. JetsThe Winnipeg Jets season came to a crashing halt and it was very disappointing but that 7-8 day stretch in between the first and second round was a glorious time.  Over a week to revel and gloat in the satisfaction of sweeping the hated Edmonton Oilers and exorcising the demons from previous playoff failures.  Man, that felt good and to be honest it made my season.  

2. Jets:  After a week to decompress and evaluate the Winnipeg Jets roller coaster season one thing remains clear, I have no idea where this team is heading.  The only conclusion I have come to is Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele, and Nik Ehlers are the only untouchables on this team.  They rest of the team is up for debate. 

3. Jets:  Is it possible that Jets fans, media, players, coaches, management, and ownership have really overrated what we have with this team?  Where was the perceived depth?  We were missing ONE forward and folded like a cheap suit.  Where was “Mr. I think I’m a top six forward”,  Andrew Copp?  Where was Mason Appleton?  Where was Kyle Connor?  Where was Pierre-Luc Dubois?  You see where I’m going with this?  Our skill seemed to disappear and didn’t seem to be ready to compete versus Montreal.  Our regular season skill did not transfer to the playoffs and that is concerning.    

4. Jets: How do I say this without coming across as a complete a-hole?  I love Mark Chipman but is he qualified enough to make the Winnipeg Jets’ major hockey decisions.  Who advises him?  

5. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets have a lot of good pieces but the game seems to be evolving again and going back to heavier games in the playoffs with a lot more clutching, grabbing, and interference.  Maybe this teams current make-up might need to be tweaked.  Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot, and Joel Edmundson dominated the Jets forwards.  All big and strong with decent mobility.  Montreal’s bigger forwards and even their smaller, grittier forwards over-matched the Jets defenders in the blue paint.  We were out-muscled and out-worked at both ends of the ice. 

6. Jets:  Watching some of the other playoff series around the NHL just showed me how the other divisions were playing chess while the Scotia Bank Canadian Division was playing checkers.  

7. Jets:  Paul Maurice has one more year left on his contract at $3,000,000 and a club option for an additional year.  In a season with no fans in the stands and not much of a revenue stream did anybody think TNSE was going to actually fire Paul Maurice and pay him $3,000,000 to be a TSN panelist again?   

8. Jets:  Is Connor Hellebuyck delusional or just extremely confident?

  “We’re very close to being able to make runs and being a dynasty”

9. Jets:  I watched Paul Maurice’s season ending presser twice and I think there are going to be a lot of pissed off Jets fans next fall.  Reading in between the lines it doesn’t sound like the influx of youth we expected is going to happen.  

10. Jets:  Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” is arguably the Winnipeg Jets best skater so why doesn’t he get more ice time? 

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11. Jets:  We got another glimpse of what it would look like with Andrew Copp as a second line center or top-six forward and I hope we can finally put that narrative to bed.  I love Copp on our third line but he would never be in a contending team’s top-six or powerplay unit.  He is a terrific third-line winger and penalty killer. (see #3)

Andrew Copp is where offence goes to die.

Andrew Copp is NOT a top-six forward.   

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • 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:  Are Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s jobs 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.  Because of a short off-season Chevy will be spared but it might be 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. Jets:  I find it absolutely amazing to the point of being comical that everybody has an opinion on the Mark Scheifele hit and subsequent suspension but it seems that Mark Scheifele’s opinion doesn’t seem to count. 

15. 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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16. KHL:  Former Winnipeg Jets farmhand Eddie Pasquale was named the KHL’s Goalie of the Year for the 2020-21 season.  The former St. John’s IceCaps goaltender put up some pretty good numbers this past season with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.  He was 25-11-3 with a GAA of 1.91 and a SV% OF .925. 

17. Jets:  I’m not sure there is another organisation in the NHL that have a longer tenured GM and a longer tenured coach still working for them with less overall success that the Jets tandem.  Teflon Chevy has been here right from the start with very little to show for it.  The rule of thumb is a GM gets two coach firings before the spotlight shifts on to him.  Is that why he is still clinging to Paul Maurice?    

18. Jets:  I love Dylan DeMelo and I think he is a very underrated/important part of the Jets blue line but if not having him in the lineup causes the kind of collapse we’ve witnessed versus Montreal this team has bigger problems than we imagined.  

19. Jets:  Do the Winnipeg Jets need a new set of eyes in the organisation?  A President of Hockey Operations?  I’ve been saying for quite some time that this organisation needs a buffer between ownership and management.  (see #4)

20. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets are a month away from having to submit their protection list for the Seattle expansion draft.  I would love to know what they are planning.  I would just prefer to lose a player instead of cutting a deal to protect a player on the current roster.  (see #15) 

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch
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