Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 12

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 highlight for me last week was the Winnipeg Jets having Cole Perfetti fall into their lap at #10 in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.  Perfetti is the highly-skilled center the Jets have been seeking.  He fills a real organisational need and could be ready to play in a couple of seasons.  He could surprise and push for the 3C spot in camp, you never know.  I compare him to Mathew Barzal. 

2. NHL:  For the first time ever the NHL season kind of actually finished (Sept. 28) during hockey season.    

3. Jets: The next biggest news in Jetsland was Kevin Cheveldayoff acquiring Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Bettmans.  Stastny will help fill the void at the 2C spot now that it has been confirmed that Bryan Little won’t be playing.     

4. Jets:  I disagree with Jets fans that say the Winnipeg Jets helped Vegas out of their cap problem by taking Paul Stastny off their hands but I think Kevin Cheveldayoff took advantage of their cap problems.  In what world would you ever get Paul Stastny for Carl Dahlstrom (waiver wire pick-up) and a 4th round pick?  It was a wash at worst.

5. NHL:  At the start of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday night, Gary Bettman announced their goal was to try and start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1.  I have no idea or even have a guess what the plan is but I don’t see a bubble being feasible.  

6. Jets:  Looking back at last week’s happenings the Dylan DeMelo contract extension got lost a little bit after the Jets announced the Paul Stastny trade.  DeMelo was a nice fit for the Jets right off the bat and he played very well with Josh Morrissey.  The only problem I see is that he is not a top pairing defenceman although he might be on this team and therein lays the problem.     

7. Jets:  Paul Stastny didn’t have to waive his no-trade clause this time when traded to the Winnipeg Jets.  The Jets were actually on his shortlist of teams he would go to.  That is a little refreshing. 

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8. NHL:  I’m not a fan of no-trade and no-movement clauses.  Players shouldn’t be able to have it all, big money and term and then piling on with no-movement clauses.  In my opinion NTCs and NMCs actually create an unfair playing field within the NHL and it hampers the ability for GMs to make trades.  The NHL has enough imbalance with teams in certain states having no taxes and warmer climates.  This makes it tougher on a lot of markets and especially Canadian teams.  I would propose some sort of grandfathering out of NMC and NTCs.  It would be for the good of the game and level the playing field a little bit although I don’t see the NHLPA ever agreeing to that and unfortunately, I don’t see the owners picking that as a hill they want to die on during collective bargaining   If I were an owner in a Canadian market I would be pushing for it.  By the way, when was the last time a Canadian team was in the Stanley Cup Final?  Hmmm.  (see #7)

9. Jets:  There were lots of rumours over the weekend that the Jets were in on talks to acquire Nate Schmidt from Vegas and were involved in other talks to acquire a top-4 defenceman.  The good news is Patrik Laine or Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers names weren’t involved.  It looks like the Winnipeg Jets are dangling Jack Roslovic as their trade-bait and I’m okay with that as long as it is a good hockey trade.     

10. Jets:  Disclaimer alert:  This is coming from the ex-scout in me.  My annual rant to give the scouts a little love.

The Jets had a decent draft and mostly because of getting Cole Perfetti but GMs get too much credit for drafting good players.  The GM may stand at the podium and make the pick but the scouts do all the work.  The GM is responsible for the day-to-day roster and the scouts are responsible for the draft prospects although the GM does get the final say but remember the scouts do all the leg-work.  Now I feel better.  

11. NHL:  It was funny to hear an analytics guy like Kyle Dubas talk about being harder to play against, adding some grit, and adding character to the room.  I know you can’t paint all analytics guys with the same brush but some of them actually get snooty if you mention intangibles.  

12. Jets:  Based on their lack of an impact signing or trade to bolster their top-4 defencemen the Jets are telling me two things –  they had no luck in trying to lure UFAs to Winnipeg or they’re not having any luck trading for one.  I can’t help but wonder if they are putting too much hope on Dylan Samberg and/or Ville Heinola filling the void this season.  The good news is Heinola is playing hockey in Finland.  The bad news is Samberg hasn’t played any meaningful hockey since March.  Now in saying this there is a lot of time between now and when the season starts so stay tuned. 

13. Jets:  Defenceman Derek Forbort was a decent signing as long as he is slotted in the right spot.  Forbort was Drew Doughty’s regular partner when he was playing for the LA Kings.  Forbort will add some much-needed size and experience to the Jets blueline but he is not the big fish Winnipeg Jets fans are looking for.  Sorry, Derek, there is no Doughty’s on this blueline.    

14. UFAs:  I was hoping players like Erik Haula as a 3rd line center or Nick Cousins as a 4th line center and players like defencemen TJ Brodie, MacKenzie Weegar, or Travis Hamonic were on Chevy’s radar as acquisitions via free agency or trade.  So far …. NO.   

15. NHL:  Important date:

Oct. 18 –  Sunday … RFA Qualifying offers expire.

16. Jets:  Headcount as of this weekend.  Lots of new toys but some are broken.

In:  Paul Stastny … Nate Thompson … Derek Forbort … Dominic Toninato   

Returning:  Dylan DeMelo … Nathan Beaulieu … Luca Sbisa … Laurent Brossoit

Out:  Carl Dahlstrom … Anthony Bitetto … Logan Shaw

The good:  Cole Perfetti, Paul Stastny, Derek Forbort. 

The bad:  Nate Thompson  

The ugly:  Luca Sbisa

The meh:  Nathan Beaulieu, Dominic Toninato  

17. Jets:  Maybe it’s time for Chevy to contact his old team and see if he can bring home a disgruntled Jonathon Toews.  That $10, 500,000 for 3 more years would be a problem though.  What if the Hawks retained half?

18. RIP Eddie Van Halen … gone too soon.

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch

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