Chevy Speaks!: Jets Press Conference

Photo by Leech44 (wikicommons)
Monday afternoon the silent lands that have been the MTS Center awoke, as Kevin Cheveldayoff took to the podium to announce a contract extension for head coach Claude Noel and face a plethora of questions from the rather tame Winnipeg media. I finally got a chance to watch a chunk of the press conference, and here are some of the major points I managed to pull out of it:

The Claude Noel Extension

  • I really have no problem with this. It’s a single year extension, and I am admittedly very pro-Noel for the time being. Although Chevy directly stated that term wasn’t a key part to the deal, you have to think the single year plan will serve as an evaluation period for Coach Noel.
  • Cheveldayoff also mentioned Claude’s ability to work well with younger players, signaling to me that the team has no continued issue with the apparent Burmistrov situation. This could, though, also provide an explanation for the single year deal, allowing the front office to really see how well the Coach can still handle what will surely be a young squad.

Free Agents

  • I was extremely pleased to hear that there actually has been some behind the scenes work going on. Despite our greatest fears, it appears that the Jets will have more than 12 players under contract by the time the season starts next Fall. Talks are continuing with the current RFA’s (not really any big surprises there), and I would think that rights may be moved at the draft should anything go sour. (More on that later)
  • It was very subtle, but Chevy also hinted that the team does have some money to play with (Cap Space). This could mean absolutely nothing, but it could mean they go out and spend a little during the Free Agency period. Again, the RFA’s are the number one priority, but the team does have places to improve. (Again, more on that shortly)


  • Sounds like Ron Hainsey is going to try out the Free Agent market. The Jets took a gamble on making the playoffs by not moving him at the deadline, and it looks like it’s really going to end up biting them in the butt. I for one will be slightly sad to see Ron go, but just like it was with Johnny Oduya the majority of Jets fans will surely be dancing with joy.

Clitsome & Montoya

  • Name-dropping Chevy made sure to point out that he has been in communication with both of these guys in an attempt to re-sign them. Clitsome did serve as a valuable commodity for the Jets this year, and managed to do a decent (although sometimes terrifying) job filling in for Enstrom beside Big Buff throughout the season. I’d have to agree with a large group of the twitter community that getting back Montoya is confusing. Not that he didn’t do his job, it’s just that he had to do it so rarely. Noel really did not seem to trust him, which would have one thinking he was on his way out.


  • The Winnipeg Jets are not planning on using any compliance buy-outs THIS YEAR. That is something we now know for sure. Probably a smart move considering how much contract work the Jets already have to deal with. Until they can find a goalie to actually replace Pavelec, he is going to have to be the guy, and without any real cap trouble they can still try to trade the players they don’t want. Fingers crossed for next year on Pav though, right?

Top-6 Hunting

  • Just like almost every other team in the league, the Jets made it known today that they are in the hunt for another top 6 forward. Seems like Chevy has finally realized that he won’t be able to find one via the waiver wire. (Thank Goodness) It’s been said a million times already that the free agent pool is really thin, but there are some guys out there (Jarome Iginla?) that are up for grabs for a team willing to spend a fair chunk of change.

Opportunity Time

  • Chevy once again reiterated the fact that there will be opportunities this upcoming fall for some of the Jets prospects to make the squad. I mean actually make the team, not “make” the team and end up on the fourth line and in the press box all season. This seems similar to the approach that the Leafs took last year. Not that anyone else reading this likes the sound of the Jets doing something similar to the Leafs, but they did make the playoffs this season. I like the idea of a team actually giving their young studs a chance, and it should make this upcoming training camp really interesting.

Draft Talk

  • More of the same cliche stuff here. Chevy hinted that he may think about moving some picks to obtain players (he has warned his scouts that they make not be picking where they currently are), he stated that he has been contacted in request to move down in the draft, and he suggested that he wouldn’t hate moving up. Basically anything is possible. In my opinion, with the depth of this draft there really is no benefit in sacrificing a number of picks for a single higher pick, (giving up 2 picks to get 1 slightly sooner) unless you are moving within that top four. Consider the draft another method in an attempt to find that top 6 forward, should the right offer come along.

In summary, I’m more pleased about actually hearing something out of the team than anything else at this point of time. Although ridiculous rumors and constant useless chatter can get annoying, it is always nice to hear that your GM is having those conversations and is looking to constantly improve the team. With the lack of players currently under contract the next few weeks should be a busy time for the Jets, so let’s hope we hear Chevy’s voice a little more often moving forward.

  • Kevin McCartney

    Seriously – this team gave a medium coach (at best) with limited NHL experience and no clear indication of success with this team an extension a week before they find out if Dave Tippet is available. Sure, it avoids speculation all year. Great. That can be done in July or August. Or September. Or October.

    Status quo is one thing, making a commitment to status quo is stranger, and doing it at an inopportune time is just perplexing to me.

  • Kevin McCartney

    I really hate reading about assurances that “this draft will be really deep”, and similar assurances. They’ve said that about considerably weaker drafts. I think people should wait a while before saying any year is a good draft year. I’m skeptical that any year will be a great, deep, talented, class. Other than the players available, I think this draft is the same as countless drafts before it, a bunch of young guns with potential. Of course, I’m not a scout or anything, and I haven’t been an avid follower of the NHL for long, but I find it weird to make a big deal out of an unproven crop of youngsters, when it’s been done before with mixed results. Any year could be a 2003 or a 1999, it’s all a matter of development.