Similar to all NHL teams, the Winnipeg Jets are not making much news on the ice. That said, the team is making news off the ice with player signings and with reports about how the team’s roster is living during the forced suspension of play in response to the COVID-19 global crisis.
In this post, I’ll try to do both those things – offer news about player signing and help Jets fans stay more up-to-date about what their team is up to.
Item One: Dylan Samberg Signed to a Three-Year, Entry-Level Contract
Today, the Jets announced that the team has signed 21-year-old defenseman Dylan Samberg to a three-year, entry-level contract worth an average annual value of $1,175,000. That’s a nice payday for a young player who just recently finished his junior season (his third season) with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. During his 28 games this season with the Bulldogs, he scored one goal and had a personal best 21 points. Samberg was chosen in round two (43rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Item Two: Jets’ Coach Paul Maurice Disappointed NHL Season Has Ended
In an article in the Winnipeg Sun, Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice admitted he was hugely disappointed when the NHL called a pause to the 2019-20 season. That’s because he felt the Jets had been pushed to the limit but that the team had found a way to respond together and be successful.
Specifically, Maurice noted: “Because I felt that this team got stressed right to its maximum but there was a light at the end of the tunnel because I’d never seen a March schedule like that. Our schedule was brutal in the first half… but our March was good. I don’t ever remember seeing a March that was kind of that good. And I thought we’re just getting healthy, like here comes the payoff for these guys.”
If you’re a Jets’ fan, you certainly understand that point of view. Your team’s defensive core, which at times seemed to be held together with duct tape, played much better than most would have suspected. And, given that success in the face of a time when the team might have just dialed it in, Maurice would love to see a resumption of the 2019-20 season in any format. (from “Disappointment of paused season weighed on Jets’ Maurice, Scott Billeck, Winnipeg Sun, 06/04/20)
That said, with a note today in my phone messages, it looks as if the NHL has (or is close to) decided that it might be impossible to play the remainder of the season.
Item Three: Nikolaj Ehlers Is Growing as a Team Leader
In that same Winnipeg Sun article, Maurice praised Nikolaj Ehlers for being one of the driving forces on the Jets roster during 2019-20.
Maurice noted that Ehlers “was starting to drive, and he was starting to be able to compete real hard and change kind of the way he played. He was becoming a man. So those kinds of hard things, the small skilled guys on our team were starting to buy into. We needed that to happen this year to give ourselves a chance to win with the injuries that we did have. And it forced some players maybe out of their comfort zone.”
During the 2019-20 season, Ehlers scored 25 goals and 58 points in 71 games.
Item Four: Mark Scheifele Is Anxious for Life to Return to Normal
According to a TSN report, although Mark Scheifele has been trying to keep busy during the suspension of the 2019-20 season, he’s chomping at the bit to return to life as normal – which means playing NHL games. Scheifele’s been working out and running while trying to stay occupied during the time off caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult.
Item Five: Blake Wheeler Reminds People to Stay Home
Last week, Blake Wheeler was part of an NHL-organized video-conference. He warned people of the danger of thinking things were like usual and reminded them to stay home – regardless of the fact that winter in Manitoba was ending.
Wheeler told Jets fans, “The most important thing, and especially here in Winnipeg where it’s starting to get nicer out, we’ve been locked inside all winter so you have to fight the urge to get out and do things as you normally would.”
As he was signing off the video-conference, Wheeler said “Sam and I have some friends that are doctors or in the medical field and the amount of work they have — it’s around the clock. Obviously, we can’t thank them enough for everything they’re doing here. We’ve just got to take care of each other, and people take it seriously. The earlier on, the shorter it’s going to last.”(from “Jets’ Wheeler adjusting to life as full-time dad, teacher, Scott Billeck, Winnipeg Sun, 31/03/20)
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