Winnipeg Jets Roster: Money or Merit??

Who Should Earn Winnipeg Jets Roster Spots –

It’s that time of the year hockey fans.  Training camp has opened, the pre-season games are upon us and young prospects are looking to make their mark. Winnipeg Jets fans are concerned about the perceived lack of roster spots available and I actually posed this same question a few weeks back.  I’m concerned about this roster being selected on the basis of contract status versus ability or merit.

Sept. 24, 2014-Jets-Oilers-25

Nik Ehlers in action vs the Oilers          photo by Shawn Coates

What are Maurice’s options?

How much are Coach Paul Maurice’s hands tied?  Or are they?  What is his directive?  Is he allowed to pick “HIS” team or will it be in consultation with the GM?  I realize there are a lot of factors that go into picking a hockey team and for the most part it is a group decision.

I asked Winnipeg Jets fans on twitter what they thought were legitimate reasons to send a player back to junior or the AHL.

The fans have spoken and the two reasons below were the most common:

1.  Size and strength (not physically ready)

2.  Defensive game is still undeveloped.  Needs grooming in the AHL.  


What are Chevy’s options?

Like it or not, contract status has a major impact on a lot of roster decisions and in my opinion that is on management not the coach.  This is common place whether we want to believe it or not.  I’m not saying this is happening in Winnipeg but based on the players the Winnipeg Jets have under contract it looks like Paul Maurice doesn’t have a lot of options or wiggle room unless ….

– The Jets have no problem burying NHL contracts in the AHL.

– They find a trading partner.

– Last but not least, they can use the waiver wire.  

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Josh Morrissey in action vs the Oilers          photo by Shawn Coates

There is no doubt that for the first time in their four years in Winnipeg, the Jets have a handful of prospects knocking on the door but I’m watching very carefully to see which Winnipeg Jets prospects actually have a chance at banging down that door.  As of right now, PoMo and Chevy don’t really have any tough decisions to make.

An early roster favorite would be 2011, 3rd round draft pick, Adam Lowry.  It shouldn’t be a problem adding him to this line-up but I’m really interested to see if there are junior eligible players that will force the Winnipeg Jets into dressing them for their “nine game” evaluation period.   As of this writing (2 pre-season games in), I see Josh Morrissey as one and I believe Nic Petan should get a look.  

I see no rush to fast-track Nik Ehlers to the big leagues.  But, like I said it’s only two pre-season games in and injuries or a surprise here and there aren’t out of the question.  Stay tuned!   


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