August 29 2014 07:15AM
The Winnipeg Jets will be entering the 2014-15 NHL season with very low expectations. The team was unable to add any special pieces to contribute to the team's growth, and seem somewhat comfortable with the group they have going into next season.
The good news is that low expectations can be met easily and any slight improvement over what many are predicting will be considered a win for the organization. The bad news is that the low expectations are where the team is at today.
Captain Andrew Ladd addressed the expectations, mentioning that the team can use the low-balling as motivation for the upcoming season. Leading scorer Blake Wheeler backed up his leader, and the Jets seem ready to start training camp under head coach Paul Maurice.
THE CLICHE THAT IS THE NHL INTERVIEW
Not knocking Andrew Ladd at all, but the star winger spewed off a reply that is textbook NHL player. He addressed the low expectations, he mentioned why he believes they are bogus predictions, and he was able to spin it into a good thing for his team. Here's the full quote from Ladd.
"You learn that they are predications and until you start playing games and see where you're at from that standpoint, they don't really mean anything. It's just a bunch of chatter that everybody likes to talk about in the summer when there's nothing else going on. I think as a group we can use it as motivation to tell each other that no one's really giving us a chance and there's nothing wrong with that."
In my player preview for Andrew Ladd, i mentioned that he was a very good leader and that's what gives the Jets the slightest chance to be playoff contending team. Every NHL player would say something along the same lines prior to a season. You'll never see an NHL player on a projected-awful team say "Well, we just aren't going to be that good this year," or "You've seen the predictions, we're goners."
MAURICE PROMISES A HARD CAMP
Paul Maurice is a good NHL coach, and you'd definitely like to see him succeed. It's going to be difficult with the group of players he's got, but this is a guy who did get the most out of his time with the team last season going 18-12-5 during his 35 games with the club, which was a huge improvement over Claude Noel's 19-23-5.
Maurice is expected to run a very strong camp, and the Jets roster hopefuls will have to be in good shape, which usually motivates players. He's a respectable coach and the player's have no idea what to expect.
In an article for the Winnipeg Sun, it mentions that Bryan Little, Chris Thorburn and Mark Stuart skated together during a late-summer workout in Winnipeg, and each player is excited to see what Maurice will bring out in camp.
The article also mentions the inevitable.
It seems as if the fans in Winnipeg are more likely to sing the praises of coach Paul Maurice, while channeling their disappointment with Kevin Cheveldayoff.
The fact of the matter is that all Cheveldayoff did during the season with replace Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi with Mathieu Perreault and TJ Galiardi. He also let the best goalie (Al Montoya) walk during free agency and seems comfortable going into the season with the struggling Ondrej Pavalec and unproven Michael Hutchinson.
The team is also set to be reliant on sophomore's Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba to carry the team, which is a tall order for a couple of youngsters. Even with stark improvements from those players, it's not enough to bring a team to the promised land especially in a division that includes the Chicago Blackhawks (Richards), Dallas Stars (Hemsky, Spezza), Colorado Avalanche (Iginla, Stuart, Briere), St.Louis Blues (Stastny), Nashville Predators (Ribeiro, Roy, Jokinen, Neal), and Minnesota Wild (Vanek). It's hard to predict the Jets finishing ahead of any of those teams.
NO HONOUR FOR CONNOR???
I haven't heard a tanking slogan for this year's upcoming draft, so I took a shot, but it is intriguing to see if the Jets have their sights set on Connor McDavid. The Score's Justin Bourne wrote a very interesting article stating why he believed that was the plan for the Jets.
In all honesty, that's the only way the questionable off-season makes sense. Cheveldayoff is apparently not even on the hot seat, and this could have been his master plan all along. Don't hold your breath though.
Connor McDavid is the closest thing to Sidney Crosby since Sidney Crosby, so it's no wonder a team would tank to get him. The Jets would look pretty good with a centre lineup that included McDavid, Little and Scheifele.
Anybody got a better slogan for failure??? Or do you like this one: "Pavalec don't save it for McDavid"??
I'm out of ideas. You go.