WASAGAMING, Man. — When is the following shoe going to drop?

With the calendar formally passing the halfway level of August and with coaching camp roughly one month away, the Winnipeg Jets nonetheless haven’t addressed the excess on the defence corps, they usually haven’t upgraded or augmented the ahead group.

Thus far, it’s been a quiet offseason for Jets common supervisor Kevin Cheveldayoff, and that has loads of followers curious in regards to the course the group is taking going into the 2022-23 season — and loads of of us expressed some frustration about that technique of their questions for the August version of the mailbag.

A Calgary Flames crew that was tops within the Pacific Division through the common season, however was bounced in 5 video games within the second spherical within the Battle of Alberta, has made important adjustments to the core group. Whereas a number of had been out of necessity (with neither Johnny Gaudreau nor Matthew Tkachuk keen to decide to the franchise long-term) the boldness was observed and appreciated by many — together with followers of the Jets.

With Nazem Kadri lastly off the board in free company, the expectation is that just a few dominoes must be set to drop across the league and the following tier of free brokers — plus just a few trades — might find yourself being made right here through the coming weeks after one of many high remaining gamers out there on the open market was signed.

What influence that has on the Jets stays to be seen, however my opinion stays the identical because it did going into this offseason and irrespective of how a lot confidence Cheveldayoff and new head coach Rick Bowness have on this core group, one thing continues to be going to be executed earlier than the season will get happening Oct. 11 towards the New York Rangers.

Onto your questions:

Is Paul Stastny coming again to the Jets and if not, why? — @Bobcatbobby88

Talking of free brokers, Stastny is a type of gamers who has been ready patiently for Kadri to determine the place he was going to go. Though the door will not be formally closed because it pertains to a possible return to the Jets, it’s feeling increasingly just like the veteran ahead is about to maneuver on as he prepares for his seventeenth NHL season.

Stastny is coming off a season the place he produced 21 objectives (his highest whole since producing 25 with the Colorado Avalanche through the 2013-14 season) and had 45 factors in 71 video games and it’s clear he can nonetheless be an efficient participant.

Stastny made it abundantly clear he was going to be affected person heading into free company for the primary time since 2018 — when he left the Jets and signed a three-year pact with the Vegas Golden Knights after giving sturdy consideration to sticking round — however one would anticipate him to determine on his future sooner reasonably than later.

A reunion with the Avalanche makes numerous sense and never only for circle of life causes. He’s a conscientious two-way participant and whereas he doesn’t play the up-tempo sport the Avalanche are recognized for, Stastny’s smarts and flexibility make him a match on a short-term deal. What the AAV finally ends up being can be attention-grabbing, however Stastny desires to win and the expectation is that he’ll find yourself taking lower than the $3.75 million he made with the Jets final season. The Avalanche are projected to have slightly below $4 million in cap house, so one thing within the $1.75 to $2 million vary continues to be a risk.

As for why Stastny might not be again with the Jets, it might have extra to do along with his pursuit of getting his identify engraved on the Stanley Cup than anything. Stastny was blissful about coming again after the commerce with the Golden Knights in the summertime of 2020 and he re-upped with the Jets final offseason after suiting up in his 1,000th NHL sport with the group. Stastny was a productive participant and was outspoken final season, however that wouldn’t be why he wouldn’t return. His candid nature was appreciated by his teammates and his management was valued a lot that Cheveldayoff didn’t take calls on him on the commerce deadline.

His pending departure can be felt, however Cole Perfetti is poised to tackle a much bigger function this season after returning to full well being. Nevertheless, if Stastny isn’t again the Jets must be available in the market for one more middle-six ahead both in free company or commerce.

The place do you suppose the next Jets prospects will begin the upcoming season? Ville Heinola? Chaz Lucius? Brad Lambert? — @mb_jfb

Though Heinola stays exempt from waivers, it’s exhausting for me to ascertain him beginning the season anyplace apart from with the Jets. A part of the explanation Rick Bowness was introduced in as head coach pertains to his skill to combine younger blue-liners and it’s time for Heinola to be within the on a regular basis lineup, supplied he has a powerful coaching camp. It’s vital to recollect Heinola is simply 21 years outdated, however his imaginative and prescient and puck-moving skill are two qualities that must be on show within the NHL this season.

Lucius was unable to take part in the summertime world juniors in Edmonton as he continues to get better from his ankle harm, however the expectation is that he’s prepared to start his professional hockey journey with the Manitoba Moose within the American Hockey League this fall. That’s the probably vacation spot for him and whereas his Western Hockey League rights are held by the Portland Winterhawks, it might be shocking if Lucius didn’t spend nearly all of the marketing campaign with the Moose.

As for Lambert, he’s had an attention-grabbing begin to the world juniors whereas suiting up for Finland that features some flashes of brilliance and a benching. He’s present process the method of repairing his confidence after a irritating season in Liiga and the most effective wager is that he’ll be within the WHL suiting up for the Seattle Thunderbirds this fall after attending his first NHL coaching camp.

Hey Ken, not an excessive amount of chatter about Chaz Lucius with most folk targeted on newer prospects. With the Jets quick on right-shot forwards, how doubtless is it that he will get an prolonged look with the massive membership or makes the crew outright? — @Prim1tiv0

I don’t suppose Lucius is being neglected by any means, however he’s missed a lot time through the previous a number of seasons due to harm that it’s exhausting to think about him being prepared to leap proper into an NHL lineup.

I had the chance to observe him swimsuit up for the College of Minnesota Golden Gophers in a sport towards the College of North Dakota final November and he stood out in a great way. He was across the puck so much, confirmed nice hockey instincts and is a pure aim scorer. However he missed out on the chance to play in significant video games through the Golden Gophers’ run to the NCAA Frozen 4.

And as somebody who coated the AHL for a decade, it doesn’t matter what he exhibits throughout his first NHL coaching camp, he’s going to require some extra seasoning to adapt to the professional sport earlier than he’s prepared for NHL motion. Having the ability to take part within the 2022 Younger Stars Basic in Penticton, B.C., can even be expertise for Lucius.

What are your predictions for the Jets this season? Playoffs? Standings? Central Division and Western Convention? — Gary O @Pegger60

Predictions in August — and even early October for that matter — usually aren’t definitely worth the paper (or digital screens) that they’re printed on, however that doesn’t imply it isn’t a enjoyable train to look into the crystal ball, even when it’s cloudy. It is a matter that may require additional exploration after coaching camp begins and among the closing free agent signings and trades are made across the league.

Nevertheless, my preliminary ideas are that the Jets at present appear to be a bubble crew. What does that imply when it comes to the standings within the Central Division? Nicely, the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes are each overtly rebuilding so that may influence the standings. The Avalanche are the gold commonplace in each the Central and the Western Convention because the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the St. Louis Blues gave them push within the second spherical, so they continue to be one of many groups to beat. The Minnesota Wild had a disappointing playoffs after a powerful common season and can be intriguing to observe. The Dallas Stars made a training change however are banking on taking one other step after Jake Oettinger’s stellar play in internet and the massive strides taken by forwards Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson. The Nashville Predators stay an attention-grabbing crew as properly, with Juuse Saros offering wonderful goaltending and Roman Josi anchoring the blue line. The Preds obtained a renaissance season from Matt Duchene and had been in a position to retain the companies of Filip Forsberg, plus they play extremely exhausting, so that they’ll proceed to be a troublesome out.

My early prediction is the Jets are in a gaggle of groups behind the Avalanche and Blues that may compete for a wild card spot. Proper now, that would depart them between fourth and sixth within the Central (let’s say fifth). Relying on what occurs within the Pacific Division, it will likely be attention-grabbing to see if that’s sufficient for the Jets to get again into the playoffs after ending tenth final season.

If the #NHLJets are five-to-eight factors out of a playoff spot by U.S. Thanksgiving, do you see them begin promoting? Looks as if a greater time to do it than on the finish of the season. — Jonathan (Middy) @Middy115

Ken, if the season begins badly (on an enormous dropping skid for instance), do you suppose the “tune” adjustments faster than deliberate, as in perhaps rethink nonetheless “going for it” and perhaps begin promoting off property to retool sooner? — J Seven (@nevsey86)

If the Jets had been planning to retool, the method would most likely be properly underway. The Jets didn’t determine to stay with nearly all of the core group and overhaul the teaching workers to drag the pin on the season 20-to-25 video games in. And whereas the U.S. Thanksgiving goal usually represents the purpose the place nearly all of playoff groups have began separating themselves in recent times, it’s unlikely {that a} hearth sale would start at that stage of the proceedings.

The Jets positively have a troublesome schedule out of the gate and will face some early adversity, nevertheless it’s vital to recollect how shortly issues can change. Simply final season, the Jets went 9-3-3 earlier than issues started to unravel. So, a sizzling begin or a poor one doesn’t essentially dictate how a season goes to play out.

With the aforementioned new teaching workers, one would anticipate a bit longer leash to be given earlier than any drastic selections are made about altering the course. It’s clear the Jets are usually not rebuilding and plan to attempt to compete for a playoff spot.

Nevertheless, with a lot of vital gamers simply two years away from the prospect of unrestricted free company, Cheveldayoff might sooner or later be attempting to maneuver a few of these gamers to a contender if issues don’t go properly — since buying a participant for as many as two playoff runs might improve the worth in a commerce.

With so many groups already at, close to or above the ceiling, in-season trades with contenders will proceed to be a problem. A whole lot of groups with restricted cap house that aren’t into LTIR usually want to attend till nearer to the commerce deadline to make each greenback rely. That’s why the majority of the exercise occurs round that point. But when working it again isn’t working and it turns into clear sooner or later {that a} change must be made to the Jets roster, a commerce might occur no matter what the crew’s document is or the place they’re within the standings.

Whereas your level about attempting to get forward of the curve is an efficient one, there are going to nonetheless be a lot of vital selections looming through the summer time of 2023 given the contract standing and unsure way forward for a number of core items.

What number of begins do you suppose Connor Hellebuyck will get within the upcoming season underneath new coach Rick Bowness? — Joe from Winnipeg (@WpgJoe)

If previous behaviour is an indicator of future behaviour (usually it’s), you’ll be able to anticipate Hellebuyck to as soon as once more carry a heavy load for the Jets this season — and that’s simply the way in which that he likes it.

Nevertheless, one would anticipate Hellebuyck to begin fewer than the 66 begins he made final season (which was a career-high in begins and one off his career-high for appearances, set in 2017-18).

Hellebuyck enjoys excessive quantity, however the Jets are going to want incoming backup David Rittich to deal with someplace within the neighbourhood of 20-to-22 begins this season. Eric Comrie posted 10 wins final season and Rittich is probably going going to want to eclipse that quantity to ensure that the Jets to contend for a playoff spot. Rittich appeared in solely 17 video games final season and made 12 begins, but managed to put up six wins (6-3-4 for the Predators) and he’s additionally trying ahead to a rise in workload.

Talking of previous behaviour, as accidents to Ben Bishop and Braden Holtby opened the door for Oettinger to turn out to be the Stars starter final season, he made 48 begins within the NHL but in addition made 10 within the AHL, so he would have been monitoring for someplace in that 55-to-60 vary underneath Bowness. In the course of the prior season, the Stars went with a job share scenario, with Anton Khudobin making 32 begins and Oettinger showing in 29 nevertheless it’s vital to notice that it was Oettinger’s second professional season and he was solely 21 years outdated.

Regardless, search for Hellebuyck to be at or north of 60 as soon as once more.

Armchair GM time: What about sending Neal Pionk to the New Jersey Devils for fellow defenceman Damon Severson? — Nocturnal Manifesto @MorningWalkNews

That is an attention-grabbing proposal, however there are a variety of the reason why I don’t suppose this is sensible for the Jets. Sure, each gamers are right-shot defencemen and play an vital function with their respective groups.

Nevertheless, Severson has just one extra season left at $4.167 million whereas Pionk has three extra at $5.875 million, given the place each groups are at, buying Severson and risking dropping him for nothing as a pending unrestricted free agent — or transferring him on the deadline doesn’t do a lot to alleviate the Jets’ logjam, apart from bringing in a participant who makes much less cash within the quick time period.

Additionally, Pionk is a powerful candidate for a bounce-back season and it’s unlikely the Jets would quit on him so shortly after signing him to a long-term deal final summer time. The Devils would most likely like so as to add somebody with some extra time period since they appear to be a crew that might be on the rise through the subsequent few seasons. They might even be conversant in Pionk from his time with the New York Rangers.

Severson is coming off a profession season (11 objectives, 46 factors in 80 video games), so it’s doubtless the Devils can be seeking to lengthen him — and that he’ll be getting a elevate within the neighbourhood of what Pionk is making (or doubtlessly increased).

What can Canadian groups usually, and Winnipeg particularly, do to offset the perceived disadvantages of taking part in in Canada equivalent to excessive taxes, mediocre well being care, and for the prairie groups, brutal local weather? The Jets have turn out to be Minnesota North to offset local weather and allow gamers to play nearer to residence. Ought to additionally they be focusing extra on Western Canadian-born gamers? — Don Carson

It’s an attention-grabbing debate and finally it comes down to a couple issues. A lot of these Canadian groups, together with however not restricted to these on the prairies, must create a tradition of profitable that pulls gamers and make it a spot individuals need to play.

Whether or not it’s coping with the climate or the taxes, if groups just like the Jets are going to compete for high free brokers, they’ll doubtless have to lift their provide (AAV) or add an additional 12 months or two. In the course of the previous a number of seasons, the Jets’ draft, improvement and retention mannequin has taken just a few physique blows for certain, however the most effective likelihood to point out gamers what sort of place Winnipeg is by selecting them within the draft and displaying them what town and the group has to supply. It’s by no means going to be the place people select for local weather or high-end buying.

As for the subject of pursuing extra Western Canadian-born gamers, it’s an attention-grabbing idea. The Jets have all the time maintained that the passport doesn’t matter in terms of drafting or gamers to herald through commerce or free company. Basically, it shouldn’t be a deciding issue nevertheless it’s straightforward to know the argument that it may be extra interesting for somebody from the prairies to need to play for a crew on the prairies. That doesn’t imply going after a participant solely as a result of he’s native if he’s not gifted sufficient although both.

Do you anticipate the Jets to herald any forwards to coaching camp on a PTO? — @AavcoCup

It’s an attention-grabbing query and given the composition of the present roster, sure it looks like a definite risk the Jets might be bringing in a ahead or two to coaching camp on a Professional Tryout Supply like they did with Trevor Lewis just a few seasons in the past.

It must be somebody who would signal a contract for a decrease quantity, however an skilled penalty killer or a checking-line man with some measurement might be on the radar right here through the subsequent a number of weeks, particularly with so many groups in robust cap conditions and the lower-to-middle class of participant at present being squeezed a bit.

Don’t have any predictions on this entrance but, however will proceed to watch. It may be somebody who might be a match as a depth participant who could contemplate a two-way deal even when there isn’t an NHL spot out there out of the gate.

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