Winnipeg Jets season awards, coaching candidates, and Mailbag #2
With the Winnipeg Jets season over, they will look at having one of the most important off-seasons the Jets 2.0 franchise has had. Now that we have had some time to sit with the season-ending interviews and press conferences, some other news around the league has been making headlines, including most recently Barry Trotz being released from the New York Islanders coaching staff.
I will be doing another mailbag, so leave your questions below, in the comment section! If you are new to this, I will take the most interesting, creative, and in-depth questions left in the comment box below, and respond with some very in-depth responces in an article. They are quite a bit of fun.
Before we talk more about the coaching situation, I decided to have a look at the Jets season and make my picks for the NHL Player Awards, but for the Jets. I don't expect any Jet to be bringing home any hardware at this years Award Show, so let's have our own.
Hart Memorial Trophy:
Who does the Hart trophy go to? It goes to the player that is most valuable to their team. Typically, the award will only go to a player (or goalie, sometimes) on a playoff team. Obviously, the Jets are getting ready to hit the greens, but they still have some elite performances this season and I think it is an easy pick.
Winner: Kyle Connor
Connor had a fantastic season registering 47 goals, 46 assists, for 93 points. Being a staple on the first powerplay unit, the go-to guy for some spark 5v5, and even doing quite a good job on the penalty kill, despite some lower-end defensive metrics.
2nd: Pierre-Luc Dubois
3rd: Josh Morrissey
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
What is the Norris trophy? It is the award given the the teams best all-around defenseman, and like the Hart, I think this is an easy decision.
Winner: Josh Morrissey
Morrissey has had a brilliant bounce back season. While I wouldn't put him among the leagues top defenders, he has proven he is a clear-cut top pairing defenseman. With 37 points in 79 games, he has proven he can provide that offensive output, beating his career high of 31 back in 2019-20, as well as 2018-19. What really stood out in terms of offense, was the 12 goals. Defenseman don't score as many goals as they used to, 12 puts Morrissey at 10th in the league for D-Man goals, and 39th for points. We all know points aren't everything. His defensive abilities were on display this year, too. Making many strong defensive efforts, especially noticable on the odd-man rushes. This was easy to decide.
2nd: Dylan DeMelo
3rd: Neal Pionk
Calder Memorial Trophy
The Calder trophy goes to the most outstanding rookie of the year. Who are the Jets options? Well, there are lots. Cole Perfetti, Dylan Samberg, Ville Heinola, and Kristian Reichel are the four most notable, with Morgan Barron also making an impact after being acquired at the trade deadline. None of these rookies played more than 18 games.
Winner: Dylan Samberg
This was the toughest one I have had to choose. I went with Samberg, as he came in and earned a shot in the lineup, and took that an ran. The very responsible defender tallied 5 assists in 15 games, but it was his defensive capabilities that were on display thorughout his tenure in the season. I would say half the games he played in, he was the Jets best defenseman. Like every rookie, he made lots of mistakes, but I would say he made up for those with even more fantastic plays. If all the rookies had full season opportunities, I would expect Perfetti would have taken this, but in their respective small sample sizes, I chose Samberg.
2nd: Cole Perfetti
3rd: Morgan Barron (I know, only 5 games, but wow did he ever impress me)
The Vezina is awarded to the best goaltender. The goalie who has the most wins, and is simply the better goalie. Simple as that, right?
Winner: Eric Comrie
Comrie came into the season as a huge question mark. Playing behind a goaltender like Connor Hellebuyck comes with some high standards. Comrie registered a record of 10-5-1, with a 0.920sv%, and a 2.58GAA. These are great stats, and though there is a small sample size, that is anybody but Comries fault. Sure, I will hear the arguement that the goalie who played 66 games on a struggling team was their best goalie, but all of Comries stats are better, and he should have been utilized better. It may be a difficult concept to think about, but if Comrie had played more, Hellebuyck may have taken this award, not because Comrie wouldn't have sustained the play, but a rested Hellebuyck is very dangerous.
2nd: Connor Hellbuyck, obviously
Barry Trotz, recently fired from the Islanders, will be the leagues highest touted coach this off-season. The only competition for the Jets for the Trotz sweepstakes are Philidalphia and Detroit, in my opinion. I will also throw in what may be a very out-of-pocket take, but I could also see him taking a step up and replacing Doug Wilson as the San Jose Sharks GM. Trotz is known for his defensive structure, but is also incredibly capable of utilizing the ofeensive dynamite on his roster. He certainly gets the most out of his players. I think this lineup would be a very good fit for Trotz.
Randy Carlyle, who has been out of the league since leaving a rebuilding Ducks team, and has been said to have some interest in rejoining the league. His history is quite positive, with a coaching record of 475-334-115, including a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. It will be interesting to see if/how he returns to the NHL, and what may be the system he goes with. It is tough to judge a coach who hasn't been hired to a new job in a few years, but it may very well be worth a shot.
Bruce Boudreau is currently deciding if he wants to return to the Canucks for another year. This is a prime example of hard to judge coaches, as many questioned the move when he was hired, but with a roster quite similar to the Jets, he led Vancouver at a 106 point pace since joining the team. It is hard to say he turned the team around, as he really only brought them up 3 spots in the standings as the coach, but he had a huge impact on the ice, in the locker room, and in the media. Sounds like a great coach for Winnipeg to go after.
Finally, Pascal Vincent. A lot of people would like to see Vincent get a hot behind the Jets bench. With many years along-side Paul Maurice, and coaching the Manitoba Moose, he is certainly well known within the organization. His close work with Paul Maurice has me questionable about how he would be coming into the team again, after joining Columbus. I think the Jets are looking to move on from the Maurice era, and I don't think bringing in Vincent is doing that. I am sure he would make a fantastic coach if he gets the opportunity, but I don't think it is in Winnipeg.
Thanks for reading, I hope you all have a great night, let me know who you are cheering for in the playoffs! After the 1st round, I will be posting my round 2 predictions, as wellas the following rounds when the time comes.