The Winnipeg Jets are an extremely loyal organization. It can be debated whether that loyalty is their strength or their demise but nevertheless, it is a fact. TSN’s Hockey Insider Darren Dreger broke the story that general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach, Paul Maurice, have both been given multi-year extensions.
The exact term has not yet been released nor has their salaries, which are typically kept undisclosed. Dreger also stated it is his belief that Cheveldayoff’s deal was agreed to months prior to Maurice’s.
Correct. In fact, I believe Cheveldayoff's extension was agreed to months ago. Maurice multi year deal more recent. https://t.co/vLWIpOQqKG
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 6, 2017
Many are questioning the move suggesting that it is unnecessary given their track records and the remaining year on their respective deals. The Jets organization is giving an overwhelming vote of confidence for the tandem that has overall, not achieved a whole lot.
No Hot Seat For Maurice
Before the extension, many fans and experts would have deemed Maurice in jeopardy of losing his job if the Jets have another disappointing season. While we have seen coaches extended then fired the following year in the past, this does not appear to be one of those cases.
Maurice’s .548 winning percentage through his four-year tenure with the Jets must see improvement. Making the playoffs would be a fantastic start. The only time the Jets have seen playoff action was in 2015 where they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks.
With available head coaches Dave Tippett, Lindy Ruff and Darryl Sutter among others, the extension begs the question, should the Jets have waited until the end of the season? There are two perspectives one may take:
The first is that with the weight of a contract year lifted off his shoulders, perhaps that is just enough confidence Maurice needs to put this team over the top. The second, well, answering the aforementioned question with an astounding “Yes”. What it comes down to is whether or not the players respect Maurice and want to play for him.
“I think he’s a real good communicator, you know where you stand with him,” said Adam Lowry. “Especially with the young guys bringing them along. He knows when he needs to give them a boost and when to kick them in the butt.”
Cheveldayoff Continues Building
Cheveldayoff was active in free agency this year signing Dmitri Kulikov, Steve Mason and Matt Hendricks. These moves demonstrate his win now mentality, which is necessary for a city that has only seen four playoff games in six seasons.
The Jets salary cap situation is in great shape for this season with over $7 million in available cap space and only 43 out of the maximum 50 contracts. The real work will come next season balancing the cap while signing their free agents to deserved deals.
The job Cheveldayoff is tasked with will be locking up restricted free agents Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba to long-term deals. Not to mention tough decisions on unrestricted free agents Bryan Little and Toby Enstrom.
Since the relocation to Winnipeg, the team has only had Cheveldayoff as the general manager. The former assistant to Chicago Blackhawks general manager, Stan Bowman, is highly regarded around the league and within the organization.
While their extensions are viewed as unwarranted by some, it comes down to the healthy relationship built between Cheveldayoff and Maurice. They trust each other and are on the same level philosophically. The most crucial relationship of all, however, is the connection between Maurice and the Jets locker room.