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Photo Credit: Courtesy of NHL.com

The 2019 JN End Of Season Survey: “Keep Maurice, But…”

Last week we asked you to answer a handful of questions about the Winnipeg Jets, both in the season that has just passed and the critical summer to come. While other online polls an surveys asked mostly straight up yes or no questions, we wanted to go a bit deeper which is why in part one of our two part look over the results of our first ever end of season survey, we asked you which defensemen you’d bring back for next season, which players you don’t expect to see back at all and just what exactly you would do with Paul Maurice and the coaching staff.

I’ve tried to include as many interesting and as wide a variety of opinions as possible, but of course there were many that just could not be squeezed in! If you’re interested in the full report of results which also includes all the written responses, you can find it here for your perusal.


Question One
YOUR OPINION: What was the biggest issue that led to such a disappointing season for the Winnipeg Jets and needs to be addressed first and foremost going into next season?

I would say it’s safe to suggest that well over 75% of the 237 replies to this question were simple one word answers simply stating “defense” or “coaching” and I am probably being overly conservative with that estimate. There were also references to team chemistry issues which were the source of constant rumors near the end of the season when the team struggled quite a bit, but interestingly enough the blame for such issues was split between some of the more veteran players like Blake Wheeler or younger talent like Patrik Laine.

Your replies…

“Maurice and his inability to adapt his 1990’s systems to the way hockey is played today. Poor use of personal, lines and young draft and develop players was evident since the new year.”

 

“Uninspired coaching. Overuse of certain lines, horrible deployment of players strategies. Underuse of skilled players like Roslovic, Perreault and Hayes.”

 

“Perhaps it was the schedule. I’m a new fan and have not researched in depth but from what I heard from 1290am and other fans it sounded like many of the players were overworked. That plus the pressure to perform after last season can emotionally and physically wear down any player. “

 

“To me, I think the answer is coaching. I realize that’s an easy finger to point, but between the lack of d-zone structure and over use of certain players…. They put the team in a position where top players were fatigued down the stretch. That, to me, was the biggest issue with the team.”

 

“Predominately coaching. Several D pairs and top six players were married for most of the Season, despite all metrics saying they were garbage. Quit trying to force round pegs in the square holes, and find a fit that works.”

 

“Leadership appears broken. Perhaps the worst move this franchise made was giving Wheeler the ‘C’. Shoulda skipped him over and got straight to 55. Give 55 the ‘C’, and give As to 17 and 44.”

 

“Maurice. His in game system adjustments. Bad line juggling. Leaning on a terrible veterans aka Myers-Kulikov, Little etc. A standing, no movement Powerplay. A passive PK. I put most, if not all the blame on Maurice. Simply outcoached.”

 

“Goaltending wasn’t as good as last season! Defense was slack! If there’s a problem in the dressing room, address it, fix it!! We don’t watch/ listen or buy tickets for you to bring your problems on to the ice!”

 

“Don’t have an answer for that, just that it’s not the coaches fault. And I will stand by that no matter what.”

 

“Tobias Reider not scoring 15-20 goals”

Damnit Bob Nicholson, worry about your own damn team.


Question Two
YOU’RE THE GM: Which Jets defensemen are you keeping?

Essentially, what this question was asking is who is in your top six for next season and maybe the biggest surprise – although as the next question will reveal, maybe it shouldn’t have been – is that Jacob Trouba got such a low pick rate, even lower than pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Myers.

Of the 252 fans that answered, Morrissey and Byfuglien lead the way and Sami Niku also has a lot of support from Jets fans going forward.

It also would seem like Jets fans are ok with Ben Chiarot returning which would mean the UFA gets signed to a new deal this summer.

Not shockingly, Kulikov and is super high contract for what he actually brings to the team is dismissed by most, but unlike Trouba the Jets may have to “pay” a team to take that contract off their hands.


Question Three
PREDICT THE FUTURE: Which Jets do you not expect to be back next season?

Kevin Hayes was here for a good time (it really wasn’t that good) and probably not for a long time. Out of the 252 people who replied to this question, 81% are certain he’ll be signing elsewhere this season. Also high on the list is Jacob Trouba who of course been the focus of so many rumors going into this off-season.

A shade under half of all respondents also suspect Mathieu Perreault may be shipped off as well – likely a move to help free up some cap space.

One player Jets fans it would seem like to stick around? Backup goalie Laurent Brossoit who won over fans this season with his play.


Question Four
YOU’RE THE GM: Would you fire Paul Maurice or any of the Jets coaching staff over the summer? If so, who is your ideal replacements and if not, would you say they are on a “shorter leash” next season with a chance to be fired of the team starts poorly for the 2019-20 season?

The Winnipeg Sun recently revealed their own fan survey and in it it would have seemed to express support for the head coach.

I would like to suggest that a lot of that support probably has a huge “but…” attached to it, which is why we made this question something a fan could reply more than just “yes” or “no” to. Out of the 231 that replied, a good majority stated that the Jets coaching staff shouldn’t see any changes, but at least half of the responses said it should be with a proverbial “short leash” and that he gets hooked should the team struggle or even look questionable as the 2019-20 season continues on.

As it is, most understand two things: A, Paul Maurice is a year removed from a Western Conference Finals appearance and knowing how the Jets like to remain loyal, he wasn’t likely gone anywhere, and B, if you do fire Maurice, the list of potential replacements isn’t looking much better.

So yes, most Jets fans would give him another shot, but that seat he’s on is starting to get warmer.

Your replies…

“Keep. If the Jets are not stronger collectively by allstar weekend the leash may get a little shorter but we should keep him. I am not a big fan of coaching changes. We knew Maurice was a .500 coach before we hired him. Unless you find that “Barry Trotz” type coach available to replace him Maurice is good enough”

 

“Maurice should already be gone! I would have liked Quenneville but we’ll have to get somebody else. I’ll literally take any coach over Maurice and I think we don’t want another “player” coach. Next coach up must enforce accountability for “all” players including vets!”

 

“I wouldn’t fire Paul Maurice yet. I would, however, look at upgrading from Wade Flaherty and Charlie Huddy. I have no idea what’s out there as for replacements, but the fence was garbage this year, and somebody has to answer for it.”

 

“A short leash does no good. A culture change is needed”

 

“I believe Maurice, Huddy and the goalie coach should all be fired. Not so sure about the 2 replacements for goalie and Huddy, but a couple replacements for Maurice could be Pascal Vincent from the Moose or Sheldon Keefe from the Toronto Marlies”

 

“Maurice on a very short leash, Huddy gone, Kompon gone, Wade Flaherty gone. “

 

“I would personally prefer to see that Maurice, Huddy and Flaherty are fired, however the pool of competent head coaches this summer is incredibly weak. Unfortunately, we are stuck with Maurice for at the least the short term until substantial improvements take place or someone better appears. Quenneville would have been a great addition, as Trotz would have been if the Jets signed him the summer following Noel’s dismissal. “

 

“I don’t think firing any coaching staff this summer is necessary. This team has come a long way, since Maurice and his staff have taken over… I think that warrants them a second chance…. However, the seat Maurice and Huddy are on will be quite hot to start the season. First bad stretch of hockey, and this should be Jamie Kompon’s team. “

 

“No I would keep Paul Maurice. I know he gets a ton of flack from the Winnipeg media/twitter and I don’t know if he always makes the best lineup decisions but he has the respect of the players and I think he deserves another year. It’s crazy how we can go from “lets fire him” to coach of the year candidate to “lets fire him” again. The guy deserves another season. However, if the Jets have another disappointing season I wouldn’t be surprised if he was fired.”

 

“Pomo would be on a short leash and get rid of Huddy. Bring in UMass head coach to take over def and then head coach if we start poorly next year”

That of course would be Greg Carvel who just helped lead the UMass Minutemen to a NCAA Tournament championship appearance this past season, but he was also signed to a long term contract that will have him as UMass’ coach through to the 2022-23 season.


Tuesday we’ll review the other five questions on the survey including what to do with Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine and what one deal would fans make if they were Kevin Cheveldayoff this summer.