The Winnipeg Jets Should Retool Now

The Winnipeg Jets need to start the retool now and not in the off-season-

In a year that has gone off the rails, it makes sense to me to start the retooling right now. 

Retool ~ Verb

1.  equip with new or adapted tools.
2.  adapt or alter to make them more useful or suitable.

The good guys are currently sitting at 18-17-7 going in the NHL’s All-Star break which puts them 6th in the Central Division and the news gets worse.  The Jets sit 9 points out of the last wildcard position and need to jump over five teams with only fourty games left in the season.  Even the most diehard fan knows there is no way in hell with the way this team is playing from the goaltender out that we will see a Whiteout this season.  Let’s call it what it is, another lost season and move on.  I know, I know the truth hurts but I’m not here to wave pom-poms or blow smoke you know where.

This season started with great optimism when Kevin Cheveldayoff improved the Jets blueline with the additions of Brendan Dillon and Nate Schmidt and although they are big improvements over the likes of Tucker Poolman, Derek Forbort, Jordie Benn, and incumbent Nate Beaulieu the question now being asked is if the were enough to move the needle.  In my opinion, they are. 
Embed from Getty Images
Generally speaking, I’m not big on making excuses but sometimes there is no escaping the facts.  Yes, it has been trying for every team in the NHL but right now I don’t give a rat’s ass about the other 31 teams, this is about the Winnipeg Jets.  Maybe we overrated this team as a Stanley Cup contender but on paper thinking, they should be a playoff team was a reasonable assumption.  Now for the excuses.

 

  • Almost every Jets player at one point or another was infected with Covid-19.  Some were worse than others but we really don’t know how it has affected these players then or now.  I don’t recall Pirre-Luc Dubois or Kyle Connor being infected.   
  • The injuries to key players like Nikolaj Ehlers (twice), Blake Wheeler (twice if you count Covid-19) and a sundry of minor injuries to others.
  • The resignation of head coach, Paul Maurice.
  • The revolving door of minor-league players in and out of the lineup making it tough on the interim head coach Dave Lowry.
  • The cancellation and rescheduling of games while having stretches of playing one game a week.
  • Playing games with no fans.
Embed from Getty Images

In a season that was far from normal, I think most Winnipeg Jets fans would understand a re-tooling now.  I’m not going to use the words tear down or rebuild because that’s not what’s needed here.  In spite of all failures this season there is a lot to be encouraged by.  Because of Covid and injuries, the Jets and their fans have had the chance to see many of their top prospects and next-level prospects get some games with the big club.  Defencemen were an issue this past off-season but the Jets abundance of organizational depth at this position has developed and added quite a bit of asset currency for Kevin Cheveldayoff.   

Bright spots-

  • Cole Perfetti has emerged as a legitimate top-6 player. 
  • Dylan Samberg’s transition to the NHL was pretty seamless from his first shift on.
  • After a couple of so-so starts, Ville Heilola justified all the hype with very solid play.
  • Declan Chisholm and Johnny Kovacevic showed they are close to playing at the NHL level.
  • Last but not least Evgeny Svechnikov has been found money and fits in very well with this team even though the interim coach is blind to this.

Embed from Getty Images

Now for the tough decisions-

  • UFA Andrew Copp has priced himself out of this market so trade him now to maximize the return.  The worst thing this Jets franchise could do is overpay a very good 3rd line winger who is at best a fill-in top-6 winger.  Move on.
  • Make a decision now on Paul Stastny.  I’m okay bringing him back for one more season.  Yes, he has slowed down a bit but he is a smart player and he is like an assistant coach on this team.  If not, move him to a contender.
  • I know the candidate pool for head coaches might be a little thin right now but I’d try and hire a new coach right now unless TNSE has their eyes on Pascal Vincent (or others currently on NHL teams) and need to wait until the end of the season.  The sooner a new coach is in charge of this team, the better.  He basically has half of a season to see what he’s dealing with.
  • Enough of the Poganski’s, Toninato’s, etc.  Play Svechnikov and Gustafsson (when he’s healthy).
Embed from Getty Images

It’s time this organization plays to win and not worry about hurt feelings.  The Kumbaya days are over.  There is no excuse for being a cap team and basically becoming a seller with half a season left but that’s where this team is.  Like I mentioned this fanbase is smart enough to support the retool now and would give this team a pass on this season.

There is still a lot to like about this team but as Paul Maurice said they need a new voice but he probably should have said voices and that means moving on from Lowry, Huddy, Kompon, and the rest.  The special teams are a joke and that’s not the player’s fault.  There is also a serious disconnect in this organization when evaluating its own players whether it is coaches or management.  It seems the only time a positive roster move is made is when there are injuries and not honest player evaluation.  Jets fans are sick of the infatuation with marginal veterans over upcoming youth.

Based on the Jets current position in the standings should they be buyers or sellers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

I’m giving Kevin Cheveldayoff a pass because I thought he had a pretty good off-season but I wouldn’t be opposed to a changer here as well.  Most fans know it’s tough in today’s NHL being a GM in a Canadian market and especially Winnipeg but no more excuses.  It’s now up to Mark Chipman to get his ship moving in the right direction because this fanbase has run out of patience and is tired of excuses.

The good news is this can be fixed.

*

Comments

  1. Let Pascal be someone else’s experiment. Bring in a proven winner who will demand a team game.

  2. Dave Smith says

    Their infatuation with vets is costing them more than wins. It costs them in dollars too.
    This might be a little bit galaxy brained but hear me out.
    I think it’s safe to say that if and when healthy David Gustafsson is Adam Lowry. He should have played last year for at least 25 of those games. By not doing so the following things happened. Adam Lowry signed before the expansion draft for some strange reason for 5 years and 3.25 AAV. That about 3 years and million more than he’s worth. That is some straight up Jim Benning type stuff. This also means they lose a player in Appleton that had what 3-4 years of team control left. And that horrible contract means less money to sign a decent back up and extend Copp.
    Not playing Heinola causes the acquisition of 10 million in salary between Schmidt and Dillon. I’d argue if he plays they only need one of them last off season.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Thanks for reading Dave …. agreed … I like Adam Lowry as our 4th line center but at 4th line money … this is part of what I was saying about TNSE’s Kumbaya attitude … its time to run this team like its in the NHL.

  3. I agree with a lot of what you stated, and Dave makes some excellent points. I think some of the youngsters should be integrated into the lineup sooner than later, although we have seen a few due to injuries and covid. Some of our vets have been mailing it in lately as if they feel they are untouchable…#55 sticks out lately. The fans have had enough of the 5-year plan, but knee-jerk reactions need to be avoided…but when free agency comes around, I always check to see who’s available and what they would look like in our lineup.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Hey Les … thanks for dropping by ……. this team has skill but the skill is too soft … we need to get some bottom 6 fwds that can contribute and compete ……. when healthy the top 6 is pretty good but need to be better in both ends …. the 5-year plan started 11 years ago … time to clean out the suits

  4. Robert Gilbey says

    I would consider buying out Wheeler. Scheifele is not having a good season by anyone’s standards. Is he injured or is he mailing it in? That’s the big question. The Jets need more skill and will, especially in their bottom 6 forward corps. I am in favor of letting the entire coaching staff go in the off-season and I would also not be opposed to a change at the GM position.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Thanks for visiting Robert …… there are a lot of tough desicions to be made around this team and I think most of it should start behind the bench and above ….. clean sweep …. bring in new people and let them re-evaluate this team and re-tool. This season started with such high hope and just fell off the rails …. lots of bright spots and lots of disappointments too

      • Robert Gilbey says

        This is the first time I have ever thought that the Jets should even consider a change at the GM position. Would Cheveldayoff have fired Maurice if he did not step down on his own? Perhaps Cheveldayoff and Maurice met and reached a mutual agreement so that he could resign and be spared from actually being fired. I don’t know. I have to admit that I was losing patience. I expected the Jets to fly high this season. A retool is definitely in order. The Jets do have a lot of the necessary elements in place to re-enter contention in time for the 2022-2023 season. I do consider it very unlikely that the Jets will qualify for the 2021-2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I won’t get my hopes up.

        • Mitch Kasprick says

          I’ve never been big on firing coaches or GMs … it is usually just a short term overreaction based on anger. I believe in stability but maybe this franchise is too comfortable even at the top of the food chain.

          You will like my next article then … watch for it on Tuesday or Wednesday morning … for fans in need of hope.

Blog Stats

  • 182,484 hits