You might have noticed the last few days that we’ve had a string of new writers debuting work here on JetsNation. Safe to say our call for fresh faces to join us (a call that still stands and if you’re interested please give us a shout) has been heard and answered.
So today’s AirMail will actually come at you in two parts, the first part is an intro to our new writers and some of their thoughts on questions asked by our readers through Twitter. Later on today we’ll have part two where myself and some of the “old guard” will answer the same questions.
First off let’s quickly introduce our noobs!
Eric Meadow – If that name sounds a tiny bit familiar to you, it might be because he was featured in a spring time Canadian Post article about Jets fans living outside of Winnipeg. Eric lives in Connecticut and his family’s fandom goes back to the Atlanta Thrashers days. Eric remains a die-hard Jets fan but expect some Thrashers history from him as well from time to time. You can find him on Twitter @PalmerCurling.
Josh Smith – Currently a student at U of M and a big hockey fan that still plays in men’s leagues, so of all of us he’s one of the few you can’t say “you’ve never played the game” to. He enjoys writing about the game as much as hockey itself and you can find him on Twitter @smjth18.
Sarah Pritchard – Users on the Winnipeg Jets Reddit page may be very familiar with her work as she’s provided some funny artwork in the past and is a current moderator there. You can expect that and some great thoughts and insight into the Jets from her here as well. She’s also new to Twitter and you can give her a follow @wpgsalapeno.
Sean Sedlacek – Also is a mod for the Winnipeg Jets Reddit page and the /r/WinnipegJets Discord server. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on the Jets for 3+ years there and it looking forward to sharing with a bigger audience. While he’s very familiar with the platform, he isn’t much for Twitter use which maybe makes him the smartest of all of us when you think about it…
Zee – Lastly (but certainly not leastly) we have Zeedlle which because of hockey nicknaming laws that were enacted in 1926, we must shorten to just “Zee.” She’s a native Winnipeger who like everyone was crushed when the Jets left but came back once the NHL returned in 2011. She also has some affection for the Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes and you can see her tweet about all three teams and more on her Twitter @Zeedlle.
With intros now complete, let’s get to the questions!
Where does Comrie sit now Brossoit is the number 2? Destined for the Moose barring injuries?
— Winnipeg Jets UK (@WpgJetsUK) December 2, 2018
Eric: Comrie, from what I’ve been able to see of him, needs some more starts in the A to refine his game. I don’t think he is eternally banished to the Moose, but his game needs a little more time to mature. We’ve seen magic done with Hellebuyck and his goalie coach, and Brossoit’s breakout this year is likely due to his training with the same coach. Perhaps a similar plan is in order for Comrie as well. Goalies are thoroughly witchcraft and dark magic, so really it’s anyone’s guess.
Josh: Comrie needs to see big minutes with the Moose, he was overshadowed by Hutch last season with the way he was playing after being sent down, but now that the Jets goaltending depth is lighter, the crease is Comrie’s with the Moose. If he has a solid year and shows progression in his game and improvement, I think the Jets give him a shot to be Helle’s backup next year. However, with the way Brossoit has played so far this year, I would not be surprised to see his re-signed in the offseason, until Comrie shows he is 100% ready take on the backup role.
Sarah: At this point Brossoit’s development is completed, and we can comfortably have him sit for stretches of time without risking his potential, but we can’t say the same for Comrie. Consistent starts are definitely going to be the key for him reaching his potential, and that happens in the Moose for as long as we have the option of Brossoit, in my opinion. I think if I’m Comrie, I’m not seeing Brossoit as competition really, as the Jets’ budget is getting pretty snuggly in the upcoming seasons and he’ll be expendable in a way a young guy on the Moose wouldn’t be, but I might be side-eyeing Berdin. We’ll have to see how that shakes out, but I like what I’ve seen from Berdin so far, a lot.
Sean S: Comrie has the makings of a solid goaltender. I think with Michael Hutchinson’s performance last season it put Comrie in the shadows a bit in terms of development. If he can put solid numbers up with the Moose he has a good chance of battling Brossoit, if we re-sign him next summer, for the Jets’ back up position. But he still needs to prove himself. Mikhail Berdin also puts some pressure on Comrie if he can continue his previous success at the AHL level. The jets are blessed with some good depth at goalie, there will be some tough decisions in the future.
Zee: It’s been less than 10 games with Brossoit as a backup, sure he’s been solid but I think it’s entirely too early to speculate at changes. Brossoit is here while Comrie learns and proves himself in the AHL, nothing more and nothing less. I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far with Brossoit, but I don’t think long term plans change when a backup goaltender has 7 solid games.
Rumours that Arizona will move to central when Seattle get a team!
Should jets fans be worried about losing a key player on expansion draft?
— ?MetalDude? (@MetalDude09) December 2, 2018
Eric: Moving the Coyotes into the Central makes sense when you look at a map; by the numbers they’re the closest team in the west to other Central teams (http://www.tomfulery.com/ has a good map, it’s my go-to reference for these conversations). Breaking up the Battle of Alberta isn’t really worth it – there’s no animosity or real heat besides that which I like to imagine in the Battle of Atlanta-in-Canada between Calgary and the Jets. Moving the Coyotes in gives a nice destination for the majority of Winnipeg fans to visit deep in the heart of hockey season, and I have to imagine the opportunity to up the story count for Jets 1.0 v Jets 2.0 is not nothing for marketing purposes either.
With regards to the upcoming expansion draft, I will say that Jets fans probably have no need to worry. Kevin Chevaldayoff has appeared to be a wizard when it comes to trades and the like, and has yet to show himself as a poor planner or judge of options. In Chevy I trust, and so should you.
Josh: A realignment that sees the Coyotes moved to the Central makes the most sense geographically, and I saw a quote from Bettman in an article saying something along the lines of the Coyotes drawing more fans when they play central division teams, so it makes sense from a business standpoint as well. As for the expansion draft, I think it all depends on what Cheveldayoff is willing to give up (prospects or picks wise) to keep the roster in tact. Does he trade a pick so Seattle takes Little’s contract? Or do we lose an Andrew Copp type player, who is serviceable, but in a couple years couple become (if not already) easily replaceable.
Sarah: I think the nice part of this particular expansion draft vs the Vegas one is how much time Chevy is going to have to get his ducks in a row. We have far more time to make plans, arrange contracts as favourably as possible, and make a few small trades to get assets for guys if we’re worried about losing them for basically nothing. Historically, there is a correlation between how much time the league has to prepare for an expansion draft, and the success of the expansion team(s), and I think that trend will likely continue here. I don’t see Seattle fleecing us, despite being in a pretty solid place, talent wise, for the foreseeable future.
Sean S: Moving Arizona to the Central Division makes the most sense out of all other options. I, for one, am excited at the prospect of the Jets 1.0/Jets 2.0 rivalry growing even bigger if we end up playing the Coyotes 5 or 6 times per season. As far as the expansion draft goes, I think there’s always going to be concern about losing a key player, but with 3 season until Seattle enters the league it gives Jets management plenty of time to come up with a game plan. Some veteran players will be at the tail end of contracts, and some prospects may not turn out as well as expected. I can see Kevin Cheveldayoff making a deal with Seattle in the same vein as the deal made with Vegas to take a pending UFA player.
Zee: It made the most sense. From what I understand Arizona’s ownership was not happy about the move but who else could you realistically put in central? Besides, who knows where Jets 1.0 end up in the next three years. Houston would work very nicely in the central!
As for the expansion draft, Chevy will have a few years to work his magic and I have no doubt that he will conjure up a good deal for us. And that’s all I’m going to say about that because we have so much time before anything real happens on this front.
Which Jet is closest to Patrik Laine’s fortnite skills?
Do any of you think you could personally beat Laine in Fortnite?
— Carly Rae Jordspen (@RytMalfunction) December 2, 2018
Eric: My guess is Ehlers can keep up with Laine, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. I’m actually completely useless at FPS games, but if Laine wanted to come at me in a round of Tetris, I’m pretty confident I can take him.
Josh: I think the safe answer would be Nik Ehlers, but I feel like there is a dark horse amongst the Jets players that could give him a real run for his money; who that could be, well I am not entirely sure. Personally, as an active Fortnite player myself, I don’t think I would personally be able to beat Laine, however if he wanted to play me in NHL 19, that is a challenge i would happily accept.
Sarah: I’m not sure I could beat anyone at Fortnite, like Eric my FPS skills are pretty atrocious. Maybe if he was blindfolded. That seems fair, right? I’m gonna go off the board with my challenger pick though and say that I think Adam Lowry could take him. I don’t even know for sure he plays, but he seems like the kind of thoughtful, determined, competitive guy who could absolutely just pick up a controller and work it out.
Sean S: One of the younger guys for sure. Ehlers, Petan, maybe Lowry. I’d be lucky to make it to the top 25 if I’m being honest, maybe I’d get a lucky shot in a 1v1. I talk a big game but when push comes to shove, I always seem to fall short.
Zee: Trick question, Laine is unbeatable at Fortnite! But if I had to pick, I think Ehlers is the only option here. As for myself beating him, I probably could if he was AFK. Games like Fortnite or Overwatch are much too twitchy for me. I really enjoy watching them being played though!
Am I too late? How much focus on is placed on +- . Maybe the @nhljets could offer a free car to the best +/- player at the end of the year instead of a plastic trophy!
— Derek Richards (@DKRichards19) December 2, 2018
Eric: I don’t have a strong read on the importance placed on +/- by the front office, but when I discuss how games are going I am far more interested in the Fancy Stats, with Corsi being my primary metric in the heat of the moment to judge a game. +/- is ultimately not that helpful, and I hope the Jets organization shares my disdain for simple numbers that don’t tell us enough meaningfully to truly matter past the eye-test.
Josh: Personally, I think +/- is one of the simplest and most useless stats in hockey. You have 5 players on the ice, and in shorthanded situations, +/- isn’t tracked, so I fail to see the importance of the stat. A player could be skating off on a line change, at the far blueline about to make a change when the goal is scored and he will be tracked as a minus, even though he had nothing at all to do with the play.
Sarah: My understanding is the Jets’ front office has a pretty solid grasp of fancy stats and a generally progressive approach to scouting, development, training, etc. I would be pretty surprised to find out they placed much weight, if any, on a stat like +/- that only gives you a very tiny slice of information with minimal context. A hockey game has a lot of moving parts, and it’s hard to look at just a single gear spinning on its own to make any really useful value judgments.
Sean S: I don’t place much confidence in +/- as a determining factor of a players overall game. Players will be on the ice for a goal against whether they, or we, like it or not. The inconsistency in when +/- is tracked also makes it less important to me when compared to other advanced stats.
Zee: Like everyone else, I’m not a fan of +/-. I don’t really think +/- is anything worth spending time on because it doesn’t really give you an accurate view the way something like Corsi will. There are much better stats to use these days, and I have to assume they are looking at those numbers instead of +/-.