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JetsNation Airmail- March 20th, 2017

This week the panel is made up of our Analytic guru Garret, our social media wizard Art and our superb podcaster, Kyle. The guys discusses the futures of Paul Maurice, Kevin Cheveldayoff, the offseason tweaks that we may or may not see and more!

If you have questions either Jets related, or about hockey in general, we encourage you to e-mail us at JNAirMail@shaw.ca or tweet at us on the Twitter machine – but include the hashtag #JNAirMail so we don’t miss that question!

Let’s get things started.

JEWagner asks: Why do hockey players use smelling salts on the bench?

Garret: The answer is they believe it to rile them up. The truth is though that the effects of smelling salt dissipate fairly quickly so it probably is not doing anything. In powerlifting we sometimes take smelling salts as a stimulus, but only RIGHT before the big lift.

Art: I’m still waiting for the day a player injures himself with his head snapping back like some of them do.

Kyle: Nothing like the nice smell of sulfur and other chemicals to wake you up and score a goal.

Multiple people have asked: Are the Jets going to fire Paul Maurice and / or Kevin Cheveldayoff this season? If not, what would it take before they are fired?

Garret: This organization is one that will likely be very slow to action on firing either the head coach or GM. I doubt that either are fired this summer. If the Jets have another similarly disappointing year, then I could see maybe some action begin.

Art: Heads *should* roll this summer but the Jets are so conservative and believe too much in loyalty and as much as they talked a big game at times this year I believe they are right where they thought they’d be. I do wonder though if another summer of inactivity from Chevy puts him in the immediate firing line at the start of the season. And if Kevin goes, a new GM may not have time for Paul soon after that.

Kyle: I agree with Art, a new GM probably wouldn’t extend Maurice. That being said, it seems like Chevy and Maurice are on the same page. Wouldn’t count on anything happening unless there is zero progress this summer and all the way through next season. 

JIrwin asks: Do you think we’re a tweak or 2 away (LHD, backup G) or do we need bigger change? Coach, notable player traded, etc.

Garret: Optimal versus “good enough.” Do I think Maurice is the best coach in the world? No. Do I think Maurice could work with a good enough team? Yes. Do I think the Jets have holes (third line lacks scoring, fourth line is too mixed bag with Thorburn for proper role, LHD needs Enstrom to bounce back or a new guy higher than Toby on the depth charts, and Hellebuyck needs a competent back up to push him) that improving them would really push them into the playoffs? Yes.

Art: I feel the Jets are a good LHD (As Garret mentioned, a rebounding Enstrom or comparable) and a starting goalie away from being a strong team in the West. Bottom line is they need to improve the overall defense before anything else.

Kyle: I was of the opinion that the Jets were close, such as a slight tweak away. But the way they have played this year it seems that a small change might not go anywhere. If we get one more LHD or a competent backup, how does that solve the Jets’ problems? Will they stop taking penalties then? Will they magically start scoring on the PP? Can they have more consistency overall? A lot of issues that have plagued the Jets for years will not be solved by a LHD or backup goalie.

Raffaele Richichi asks: Connor has been playing well with the Moose, thoughts on him getting a recall to the big club with the increased confidence?

Garret: I don’t think the team would to play on the fourth line, or in a grinding line role like the current Lowry line tends to have. I would love the Jets to look at creating a competent sheltered scoring line with Petan, Dano, Roslovic, and Connor. Three of these guys should be able to push ALM minutes down, who are good at cycling the puck and reducing chances against but not good enough at scoring.

Art: I’d say keep him in the AHL for the balance of the season mostly because unless you’re going to play him in the top six, he’s not going to get the kind of ice time he should. That said, I am very excited to see what he does come this fall.

Kyle: This is something I would like to see. I think Connor has something to prove in the NHL after being sent down. Give him a few games to reward his effort and play as of late. Might make him more motivated going into next year if he gets a taste down the stretch.

Andrew M asks: Do you think trading Buff and keeping Trouba would allow the Jets coaches to develop a better defensive system?

Garret: Yes and no. I know Byfuglien does have a negative effect on goals against due to his decisions and actions, or lack thereof, but only while on the ice. I don’t believe at all that Byfuglien’s actions have any significant impact to goals against while he is off the ice. I also know that Byfuglien’s overall impact is highly positive and places him as one of the Jets only two legitimate top-pairing defenders. Losing Byfuglien creates a huge hole in the Jets top depth that they may not be able to fill and pulls them closer to Colorado than the playoffs. Myers is a fringe top-four guy, as is Postma. Enstrom used to be a top pairing guy but has fallen steeply this season and is also performing a fringe top-four guy. Morrissey has been a capable second pairing defender in impact, but still has some large gains to be top pairing calibre. Without Byfuglien all you have is a bonafide #1 in Trouba, and a bunch of fringe top-four defenders filling three top-four roles.

Long story short: Losing Byfuglien may make the Jets scored against slightly less but it would make them lose a lot more.

Art: The Jets need to keep both Buff and Trouba, end of story. As much as I like him, do something with Enstrom if you need to free up some cap space (which the Jets aren’t in that bad a shape really) and or Myers. Trouba is about to be the team’s #1 defenseman (if he isn’t already) but Byfuglien is a pretty good #1b to have on your team and both can anchor the top two pairings.

Kyle: Realistically the answer to your question is yes.They would be able to develop a better defensive system without Byfuglien. I agree with Garret and Art though in thinking this is not the optimal way forward. Byfuglien should be kept but should not play 27 minutes per night. Regardless, Byfuglien is almost immovable with his contract and NMC eventually. Trading Buff isn’t really an option at this point. The question now becomes, how can we optimally use Byfuglien as well as Trouba within our defensive system.

  • FishWhiskey

    I get a little queazy every time I hear the word “loyalty” used by TNSE. I believe what they are really referring to when they use the term is “cronyism” and loyalty is just an obfuscation used to sugar coat a bad thing. What about loyalty to the fans who pay the bills and are owed a professional product? What about loyalty to the players who put their bodies on the line and dream of having their name on a Stanley Cup. What TNSE calls loyalty looks to me like a handful of incompetent “good old boys” who reward there failures with “jobs for life” at the expense of those who truly do deserve loyalty.