I recently heard a caller on the Jets Post-Game Show on TSN1290 hoping that the Jets will sign some UFA's from other teams this off-season, to try to avert the situation we are in this year by bolstering our young line up with veterans. rnrnSounded to me like he still believes the Jets would have made the playoffs this year with Frolik, Stempniak and Tlusty and been a much better team with them than they have been this year without them.
In looking at what the Jets have done with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that neither Stempniak nor Tlusty were ever part of the plan going into this season. Frolik may have been, all indications are the Jets made him a very lucrative offer but he decided to go another direction. However, that ultimately allowed us the opportunity to move on to the next stage of the draft and develop plan - DEVELOPMENT.
Maurice revealed in an interview recently that this year has unfolded precisely the way it was laid out to him by Kevin Cheveldayoff during the lead-up to the off-season 2015. In fact, it was probably the same discussion they had during the time that he was being hired on as Head Coach. This team got younger by design, and will again next year. It is all part of the draft and develop plan laid out by Chevy since his hiring as Jets 2.0 GM.
If you look at the contracts that have been offered over the past couple of years, I think it is evident Chevy was going this direction all along. Many of our FAs received short term 1 or 2 year deals, and then have either been allowed to walk in free agency or ended up being traded or waived, as the younger players forced their way into the lineup.rnrnI would suggest that as opposed to signing other teams UFAs, the Jets if anything, will likely trade some veteran depth to make room for the continuation of the youth movement we witnessed this year. I expect they will only retain our own RFAs that they strongly feel will have a major impact on this team going forward, especially in light of the imminent expansion draft, and how it will impact decision making on who to protect.
The trials and tribulations experienced this year will likely be a pre-cursor to the growing pains we may experience yet again next year. I for one embrace this move. We may end up being the youngest team in the league next year, and perhaps for a few years down the road, but we are witnessing the metamorphosis of this team in a dramatic fashion few fans would likely have imagined.
I would rather see this team go through growing pains, developing their young guns and grooming them into the players they were drafted to become, than see them held back and watch while the Jets do little more than have a shot at making the playoffs and bow out in the 1st round. Chevy has said all along, the plan was to build a team that made the playoffs consistently, and one that could challenge for a Stanley Cup. It's clear to me that he didn't believe the team we had last year was ready to do that.
If you believe that starting the year with Ehlers, Petan, Copp and the re-signed Burmistrov was a risky move, keep in mind, all 4 of those players needed the experience this year and couldn't have gotten that experience if Frolik, Stempniak and Tlusty had been signed. Much like Scheifele, Lowry, Trouba and Chiarot over the past couple of years, each of these young players needed to gain NHL experience because as we move into the 2016-17 season, they will be looked upon as "veteran" players because we are on the verge of injecting even more young talent next season.
Embrace the change Jets fans! This team is in it for the long haul, so fasten your seat belts, now departing runway 1a, the Winnipeg Jets of the future!