The Jets season is over and before we get to the player evaluation, some time for the Jets fearless leader: Kevin Cheveldayoff. Cheveldayoff was the first man hired by Mark Chipman for the Jets when he acquired the Atlanta Thrashers franchise from Atlanta. The hiring was praised at the time because Cheveldayoff was a part of the vaunted Chicago Blackhawks front office. The hiring has hardly been a success.
During his first off-season Cheveldayoff signed star defenceman Randy Jones and key forward Eric Fehr. To be fair to Cheveldayoff, the team was a mess and he did need some time to evaluate the entire organization and signing insignificant players was not a real issue. Instead, the issues start when Cheveldayoff was presented with actual holes in his lineup after the initial season and he did not have the answers to filling those holes.
The horse has been beaten to death, ground up, spit out, and used in a McDonald’s Chicken Nugget. Here are the facts: the Jets have had bad goaltending since the beginning of time and nothing has been done to fix it. Not a new goalie coach or a new starting goalie when one has been made available. However, it has been pointed out that fixing goaltending can be extremely hard for a team. Looking at just this season, the Jets remained on track to do nothing with goaltending. In fact, they recalled Ondrej Pavelec to fix their goaltending. That went well.
Injuries played a big part in the interesting defence that ended the season. This does not mean that the Jets do not need some defensive help: their depth does need to be improved. However, no one could predict that Myers would be nearing return when a family emergency pulled him away from the team for a while longer or that everyone would get broken at once. However, the first option for a call-up is Julian Melchiori. The Jets have had atrocious depth since before they moved here and that lack of depth could really come into play with the expansion draft coming up. However, the Jets can fix the depth problem by signing cheap, good players for the bottom pair. In short the Jets need more Paul Postmas and less Mark Stuarts. This mess is fixable, but it is a mess.
Again, the Jets have some good forwards and some terrible depth forwards. Chris Thorburn, I am looking at you. BUT CHEVELDAYOFF DID PULL OFF SOME MAGIC AND TRICKED DON SWEENEY INTO TRADING FOR DREW STAFFORD AND OPENED UP A SPOT FOR A YOUNGSTER! Sorry, back to reality: the Jets might have some good, young depth in Nic Petan, Joel Armia, and Marko Dano amongst others, but they never get the chance to play (that is not Cheveldayoff’s fault though). Cheveldayoff has done okay with the forwards this season, but it has taken a long time for this to happen. Maybe drafting and developing is working up front.
There have been some good moves (signing Mathieu Perreault, trading Drew Stafford), there have been some bad moves (holding onto Pavelec forever), there have been some inexplicable moves (re-signing Chris Thorburn and Mark Stuart). It has been six years. There has been one playoff appearance in six years. There has been zero playoff wins in six years. The Jets are bad. They have been bad for a long time. Cheveldayoff has had six years to fix them. He has not succeeded yet. How much more time does he need before it is decided that he is not the right man for the job?