Although Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said at the end of the season that head coach Paul Maurice has his “full support”, the bench boss remains without a contract extension more than four months later. Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press relays some speculation that Maurice wanted to see what direction Winnipeg went between the pipes before committing to an extension.
Solid goaltending hasn’t been something Maurice has received often in his 19-year coaching career as his goalies have combined for a .904 save percentage which is well below average. That said, that average was still better than what the Jets’ netminders were able to put up in 2016-17, combining for a .900 mark.
Accordingly, Cheveldayoff acted quickly in free agency, bringing in Steve Mason to battle incumbent Connor Hellebuyck (who received a one-year bridge deal) for playing time. While Mason is coming off of a down year himself, he still represents at least somewhat of an upgrade for Winnipeg. Between that and an expected improvement from Hellebuyck, the Jets should be able to provide Maurice with better goaltending for 2017-18, regardless if the coach enters his walk year without a new contract in tow.
More from the West:
- The Sedin twins are entering the final year of their respective four-year, $28MM contracts in 2017-18. Speaking with NHL.com’s Tim Campbell, Henrik acknowledged that both he and Daniel are thinking year-by-year when it comes to their playing futures. They turn 37 next month and are coming off their worst years in terms of production since 2013-14. While both players have stated in the past that they’d like to stay with the Canucks for their entire career, if Vancouver is out of contention at the trade deadline, their names are bound to come up in trade speculation. It’s worth noting that both players have full no-move clauses so they would have a big say in whether or not they’d move.
- After TSN’s Darren Dreger broke the news yesterday that Adam Foote was leaving his post as a development coach with Colorado, BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater reports that the long-time Avalanche blueliner chose to leave to spend more time with his family. Foote’s two sons are both playing with Kelowna of the WHL so the timing to step away makes some sense. Considering this was an amicable departure, it will be interesting to see if Foote eventually rejoins Colorado sometime in the future.