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Edmonton - April 16, 2014 - Next season started today for the Winnipeg Jets as GM Kevin Cheveldayoff accomplished the #1 item on his to-do list, hire a coach.
Of course this wasn't a lengthy search and interview process as the man he wanted was already in house.
Today he got the news he wanted to hear, Paul Maurice (and more importantly his family) was on board.
This is the perfect move for two reasons.
One, many feel he is the best man for the job. He has a handle on the team and the players, and this will give them stability this summer.
The second reason is they would probably have hired Randy Carlyle the day he is fired in Toronto. Carlyle is well respected by True North, but many question his ability to adapt to how the game is being played now and where it’s heading. Colton Orr is sure to follow Carlyle wherever he ends up.
In 35 games the Jets managed 18 wins, but had two lengthy streaks. One amazing run when he joined the team and then one unfortunate run that finally sunk their playoff hopes. While the ultimate goal of making the playoff was not achieved, the fact that they were even in the conversation at one point should be considered a success.
When he took over the team on January 12th, they were pretty much out of it and heading south fast. The team tuned out Claude Noel and the program was is disarray. Maurice brought structure and a pat on the back which was a sharp contrast to the chaos that had taken over.
Today is about celebrating the return of a solid coach. Tomorrow they get back to work building this team, and there is plenty of work to be done! Here is the summer list for Cheveldayoff:
Re-hire Paul Maurice or someone else other than Randy Carlyle (check)
Decide on a FT position for Dustin Byfugliuen
If you decide he's a forward, trade him
Make a decision on Evander Kane
Sign your RFA free agents - Michael Frolik, Matt Halischuk, James Wright, Keaton Ellerby
Decide on your UFA free agents - Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi, Chris Thorburn, Adam Pardy, Al Montoya
Make a decision on Alex Burmistrov - The Jets cant waste the asset
One would hope that the Jets stop trading 2nd round picks for rentals. While the trade for Michael Frolik was excellent, the ones for Devin Setoguchi and Eric Fehr didn't go as planned. While the Jets depth still needs to be addressed, one year rentals isn't the best market to improve your program.
Next item, continue to pull rabbits out of hat at the draft...