It’s time for some big changes

The Winnipeg Jets are losers, and worst than being losers, they can’t even do that right. This team has had it’s chances and have yet to do anything about it. They currently sit ten points out of the final playoff spot in the west and while only Calgary and Edmonton have fewer points in their conference the Jets sit 20th overall in the league.

And there lies the problem, they are not good enough to make the playoffs, certainly not good enough to go far if they sneak in and too good to finish poorly enough to add an elite level prospect. Now I’m not saying lose games on purpose, but with the future in mind the Jets need to make the right choice and the right direction.

I’ve believed that the Jets could win with the core group of young players inherited from the Atlanta days. Andrew Ladd is a good leader, Blake Wheeler seems to ooze potential as he has size, speed and skill. Byfuglien, Kane, Bogosian, Pavelec, Enstrom, and Little all have their share of skill and talents that would be hard, if not impossible to get back in any trade. But trade a few is something the Jets should do and before the Olympic roster freeze.

The Jets do not have the pieces in their system to add an elite player with a proven track record. And adding one or two players from a losing team looking to shed payroll will not help this team one bit. I’ve come to understand that the issue with the Jets isn’t talent or potential but it’s the culture in the locker room. The status quo, that losing is acceptable because I still get paid and I can get a raise for showing flashes of what I need to do to win on a regular basis.

Now the purpose of this is not to go back and point the finger at anyone, it’s to point out what is becoming painfully obvious. The Jets are losers and while a few come out and say all the right things after a tough loss, the actions on the ice have not reflected it. Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words – just ask Jonathan Toews.

kane-laddThe Jets have tried to make it work but they need to cut their losses, keep two or three out of this key group to add to Scheifele and Trouba and see what the market is for the rest. Andrew Ladd deserves a chance to play for a contender again and would surely bring a first round draft pick and a roster player or prospect. Blake Wheeler has been great when he’s on and if timed right, could net a big return. The market would be huge for big Buff, despite his shortcomings, as would be for Evander Kane.

I’d like to see the Jets hang on to Evander as I do still see progression from him and he is still young and signed to a reasonable deal. Bogosian should stay and make up the core of the Jets defense with Trouba. I can go either way with Pavelec and if the return is enough, can say it would be smart to pull the trigger on that deal and let Pasquale share starts with Montoya for the rest of the year.

Patience is a virtue and this is by no means meant to derail the plan to build from within and through the draft, but it is the right time to sell older assets left over from the previous owners. Finishing dead last next season may not be the most exciting and joyful games to watch but if it means being able to draft Connor McDavid, it is probably worth the pain and suffering.

The Jets have drafted and brought in some players with a winning background. Take the dynamite and blow it all up, like I mentioned in the most recent JHP episode. It’s time to change the culture of the locker room before the young winners learn how to accept losing.

Nothing and I mean nothing could be more detrimental to this franchises long term success; don’t you agree?

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.