The Jets need roughly 25 wins in their
last 36 games to make the playoffs this year.
At the rate there playing at, it doesn’t appear they will make a postseason appearance. They
continually drop points like they intend to be in the mix for the
first overall pick. Now that would have been okay in the past, but
that’s not acceptable today. The Jets have the talent that should
make them a contender for a wild card spot.
The Jets find
ways to lose to teams they should be beating. It’s depressing every
year watching a Jets team with promise look like they can take it to
the next step, but by January they start falling apart for the last
half of the season. They have a wealth of young talent both in the
line-up and the minors so they don’t need to tank and try for top
picks. The next step they must take is to make the playoffs. They are
two years removed from when they last made the playoffs in 2015. That
team is a lot different from today’s. We have a different starting
goaltender, Scheifele has developed into the top line centre we need,
we have another franchise player in Laine, and we have a different
leadership group. So what’s missing?
The Jets need to make a change if they
want to be in the playoffs. The easiest thing to do would be to
change the coach. It’s easier to replace one person then a whole
team. Do they need to let go of coach Paul Maurice, after all he
helped take the Jets to the playoffs in 2015. Based on their
performance, the team this year doesn’t seem to really respond to
him. By now we have all seen him explode and the team continues to
under perform for Maurice. He is on track for only five playoff
appearances in 19 seasons. Maybe it’s time we move on to continue the
growth of the Jets.
With Maurice out, who do the Jets get
to replace him? Well it depends on what Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff
wants. There are a decent crop of available coaches to choose from
including some that have and some that lack head coaching experience.
If the Jets look at someone with head coaching experience, they could
look at Kevin Dineen, Marc Crawford, Paul MacLean, or even Bob
Hartley. Kevin Dineen is a former head coach of the Florida Panthers
and current assistant coach of the Chicago Blackhawks where he got a
Stanley Cup winning experience. Marc Crawford is the coach who
recruited Auston Matthews to the Swiss league in his draft year as
well as a former cup winner and Jack Adams winner. Crawford is
currently the assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators. Paul MacLean is
no stranger to Winnipeg, as he played 7 years with the original Jets.
He is a former assistant coach of a once great Detroit Red Wings team
as well as a Jack Adams winner as the head coach of the Ottawa
Senators. He is currently assistant coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
Another Jack Adams winner is on the market, Bob Hartley who won coach
of the year just two seasons ago. Add that to the fact he has won a
championship everywhere he’s been, from a Stanley Cup to a Calder Cup
to even a championship in Switzerland.
They could pick up someone whom has
been talked about as being the next big coach, like Todd Reirden,
Sheldon Keefe, or Travis Green. Todd Reirden is an assistant coach of
the Washington Capitals, before that, he was an assistant for the
Pittsburgh Penguins. Last summer teams were asking permission to talk
to Reirden over head coaching jobs, as he is considered to be one of
the next successful coaches in the league. Sheldon Keefe is a name
that only recently popped up. He was head coach of the OHL’s Sault
Ste. Marie Greyhounds before taking the job as the Toronto Marlies
head coach in 2015.
In his first year with the Marlies, they went all
the way to the Eastern Conference finals. Travis Green came close to
a job as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks last summer, but they
instead went with Randy Carlyle. He is currently the head coach of
the Utica Comets and former coach of a WHL championship team, the
Portland Winterhawks. It was just two seasons ago, Green lead the
Comets to their first Calder Cup final and has since been highly
regarded in the NHL as a future head coach.
The Jets have a wide variety to choose
from when it comes to head coaches. From NHL seasoned coaches to
promising coaching prospects. The next head coach has to take what
Maurice has done over his four years in Winnipeg and build on it.
Some people will claim this is a young team and they need time,
however we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the Edmonton Oilers.
Sometimes taking actions is better than sitting back and letting them
develop in a losing effort. Whether it happens during the season or
in the off season, a new face behind the bench might be just what the
Jets need to finally break into the playoffs and take the next step.