Report on Jets

Courtesy nhl.com

Thoughts from the Jets’ inaugural month

Bolstering Byfuglien

If you’re getting tired of Dustin Byfuglien’s attention to detail – or lack thereof – prepare to be exasperated. Buff has demonstrated his recklessness on several occasions, seldom more obviously than Saturday night in New Jersey, where his neutral-zone carelessness led directly to Adam Henrique’s OT winner.  We all know Buff is a high-risk, high-reward player, but with only 2 goals in 15 games this year, many are beginning to wonder if the potential upside (he scored 16 goals in 42 games to begin last season) can offset the obvious drawbacks. Continue reading

Sunday Jets Notes: Impact Players, Line Combinations, and Scheifele

Impact and Complementary Players

It’s interesting to hear people analyze a certain player’s role or importance. Most assumptions about players are inherently imprecise, but none more so than the labeling of players by their supposed line. Terms like “1st line centre” and “2nd line winger” get thrown around a lot, and are meant to reflect a certain level of talent as well as expectations for offensive production. But how do you know if someone is suited to the 1st line or the 2nd line? Doesn’t it depend in large part on their linemates? The ice time they receive? The specific opportunities (1st unit pp?) they’re afforded by their coach?

A concept that’s equally subjective, but which may be more precise involves splitting players into two categories: Continue reading

Jets News: Rookie Randoms, Winning with Wellwood, Training Camp Invitees

Cheveldayoff, Scheifele, and Noel

Rookies Update

The Jets’ inaugural rookie camp kicked off Saturday at the MTS Iceplex in front of hundreds of fans eager to get their first taste of Jets action. Overall the practice was a bit anticlimactic, as the coaches merely ran the rookies through a series of intricate drills, but Mark Scheifele still managed to impress with his great shot and puckhandling ability.

Then last night the Jets rookies took to the ice as a team, playing their first contest in the Penticton rookie tournament which includes prospects from Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and San Jose. They posted a 4-0 win over San Jose’s rookies, with goals from Levko Koper, Mark Scheifele, and Jason Gregoire. While several players made a strong effort, it was Scheifele who stood head and shoulders above all the rest. He scored a shorthanded breakaway goal on a quick backhand deke and added an assist by threading a pass through a defender’s legs perfectly onto Jason Gregoire’s stick. While he didn’t hit the scoresheet, Ivan Telegin displayed lots of skill and poise when in control of the puck, especially on the powerplay where he’d set up along the right half-wall and draw in opposing penalty killers before distributing the puck to an open man. Continue reading

Who’s Left in Free Agency?

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UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

NOTE: This list is purposely not comprehensive since it does not include players that I believe will either retire (Mark Recchi), or play in Europe (Alex Kovalev, Alex Frolov, Nikolai Zherdev, etc). Players recently departed across the Atlantic include Antti Miettinen (KHL – Russia) and Jeff Tambellini and Rob Niedermayer (Switzerland).

Rank Name Pos Age
1 Scott Hannan D 32
2 Brendan Morrison C 35
3 Bryan McCabe D 36
4 J.P Dumont RW 33
* Chris Drury C 35
* Cory Stillman LW 37
John Madden C 38
Brad Winchester LW 30
Frederick Sjostrom RW 28
Kyle Wellwood RW 28
Chris Clark RW 35
Mike Grier RW 36
Andrew Murray LW 29
Brent Sopel D 34
Jeff Woywitka D 27
Steve Eminger D 28
Shane O’Brien D 28
Ruslan Salei D 37
Karlis Skratins D 37
Marty Turco G 36
Ty Conklin G 35
Ray Emery G 28

Not much talent left. Hannan used to be a very good shut-down defenceman, but he’s probably more suited to a depth role now. Morrison is still a serviceable 2nd line centre, but he wouldn’t be an upgrade for many teams. McCabe still has a big shot and can help a team on the powerplay. Dumont was a very good winger a few years ago (65 points just 2 years ago), but Nashville bought out his contract a few weeks ago after a miserable 2010-2011 season. He might still get a cheap 1 year deal somewhere, or he might have to go play in Europe to continue his career. Drury may be headed for retirement due to a degenerative knee condition, at nearly 38 years of age, Cory Stillman may also be ready to pack it in. All the others listed are depth forwards and defencemen, and backup goaltenders. I don’t think he’ll land a *one-way deal, but I also listed the pride of Selkirk Mb, Andrew Murray.

*NHL contracts are either one-way or two-way deals. Two-way deals pay different amounts depending on whether a player plays in the AHL or the NHL. For instance, a fairly common deal for an established pro who’s not quite good enough for the NHL, but very good in the AHL is a $525,000 NHL salary, with a $105,000 AHL salary. (Tom Pyatt signed this deal a few days ago)

The only free agents remaining that interest me for the Jets are Brendan Morrison and Freddy Sjostrom. Morrison would be a nice fit at centre and could play on the 2nd or 3rd line, taking some pressure off Alexander Burmistrov. Sjostrom is a reliable checking winger who would play on the 3rd line and the penalty kill.