The old adage states, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, neither was the ‘Peg. The Winnipeg Jets have been building their empire in the WHA since 1972 and later joined the NHL in 1979. The foundation of the team has always been grounded in their belief in tough hockey, never being afraid to take a risk and, most importantly, there being no better night out than a ‘Whiteout’ night out. We all know that before anything of real value can truly flourish, time must be taken to cultivate it to grow. While the Jets’ exodus from town was certainly a blemish on the empire’s reputation, it should not diminish the moves the team has made to better the franchise and the city as a whole. The Jets didn’t waste any time to start wheelin’ and dealin’ and neither should we. So without further adieu, here are the trades that altered the Jets’ DNA.
OUT: Scott Campbell + John Markell → St. Louis Blues
IN: Paul MacLean + Bryan Maxwell + Ed Staniowski → Winnipeg Jets
Bonnie and Clyde. Batman and Robin. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They’re all famous duos but, in Winnipeg, they don’t hold a candle to Hawerchuk and Maclean. When John Ferguson shipped off Scott Campbell and John Markell for Paul Maclean, Bryan Maxwell and Ed Staniowski in 1981, he unknowingly created a two-headed monster that would dominate scoring for years to come. Dale Hawerchuk needed a strong right-winger alongside him and Maclean seized the opportunity. Maclean had four 30-goal seasons and three 40-goal seasons for the Winnipeg Jets before being traded to the Wings in 1988. To put that in perspective, combined Campbell and Markell scored 18 career NHL goals and Maclean scored 324. The Jets needed to increase their offensive output following the 1980 season and 80s-NHL demanded tough forwards who were not afraid to mix it up. In his first season with the Jets, Maclean boasted 36 goals, 25 assists and 106 penalty-minutes… The Jets had finally found a top-line winger to compete in the ultra-physical Smythe Division.
Adding Maclean to the roster never cultivated into a Stanley Cup for the Winnipeg Jets but it got them damn close. Seven straight playoff appearances is a feat that many teams are not able to lay claim to and a large part of that success was directly tied to Maclean’s addition. The chemistry formed between Maclean and Hawerchuk was deeper than hockey and, when Hawerchuk passed away from stomach cancer at only 57, an emotional Maclean expressed that Hawerchuk was not only a great teammate but an even better friend. Their friendship translated to the ice and Jets’ fans were able to enjoy their talents for nearly a decade. During this decade, the Manitoba two-headed monster lit up the goal lamp an outstanding 560 times. Maclean alone netted 24 game-winning-goals during this span and proved his worth from the moment he arrived in Winnipeg. John Ferguson made several trades that altered the Jets’ DNA but this one gave fans a decade they’ll never forget.