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Pilot's Logbook: Paul Maurice

As the off-season starts up, we are reviewing the Winnipeg Jets season. Today: Paul Maurice.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Maurice had the Jets playing a very sound system that was designed to create more chances to score. He did this while making limiting roster decisions that have made it harder for his team to win every night. While there were some good moves that should be highlighted, there were also some bad decisions that should be noted as well.

The Good

Maurice brought in a system that put an emphasis on controlled zone exits and entries. He realized that dumping the puck out of the zone was a turnover and led to more defensive pressure on the rush. As the Jets defence featured players who were not the most mobile skaters, it is easier for them to defend off the cycle than off the rush. Maurice has smartly designed a system to play off of that. This does not include the fact that carrying the puck into the offensive zone leads to more shots for, so the emphasis on that aspect is also important.

Maurice was also able to create a system that was not over-reliant on one player. No matter who was out, the Jets were able to weather the storm. He was able to do this when injuries hit the defence so bad that there was one regular playing defence and that regular was not a defender when the season started. He was able able to guide the Jets through the loss of Bryan Little near the end of the season, an injury that would have crippled the Jets in previous years.

While Maurice is not perfect, he was able to create a team that was not too reliant on one player for its success. While there were flaws in Maurice's coaching, those flaws were not fatal flaws.

The Bad

Maurice was hesitant to move Dustin Byfuglien to defence, a position he is much more successful at than forward. Thankfully the Jets defence exploded in December and forced Maurice to take drastic measures and move Byfuglien back to defence. This move was wildly successful and even led to some questioning if Byfuglien should be nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy. While the move was highly successful, Maurice's refusal to try Byfuglien back to defence until the Jets needed him to play there, Maurice hamstrung the Jets because Byfuglien is a much better defenceman than forward.

Maurice also had a weird fascination with Mark Stuart and Chris Thorburn. While Stuart is still a NHL defenceman, Thorburn is barely a NHL forward and yet, when injuries happened, Thorburn was the first player to move up in the line-up. This odd behaviour is a holdover from Claude Noel's days and should be stopped immediately. What was encouraging was when given better players via trade, Maurice was willing to move Thorburn back onto the fourth line where he belongs.

The Ugly

The playoffs were ugly for the Jets. Maurice either changed the system from what worked the entire season or the players clammed up and reverted back to old form, the playoffs were a disaster and Maurice did not show the ability to adapt back to what had worked in the regular season. Hopefully this is nothing and Maurice keeps on doing more good than bad as the coach of the Jets for a while longer.