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Season Review 2017: Paul Maurice

The Jets head coach may be under fire, but it is hard to say after another rocky season in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Evaluating Paul Maurice is kind of fun and kind of hard. You can say he has always had bad goaltending, but he plays those goalies all the time. You can say the defence is sub-par, but he rarely makes pairings that optimize the good defenders he has. You can say that the forward depth is questionable, but he refuses to play young players when they could possibly help the team. Yet, Maurice has also done things like played skilled players on the penalty kill, recognized the fact that Dustin Byfuglien is a good defenceman and should never play forward again.

Paul Maurice is like any other coach in a sense. No coach seems to like to trust young players unless they are forced to. This aligns with the decisions that Maurice made when it came to Nic Petan, Joel Armia, and Marko Dano. What makes these decisions more egregious is he was choosing to play Chris Thorburn above these players at various points in the season. It is not the fact that Maurice favours veterans over youngsters; it is the fact he favours bad veterans over youngsters.

The other issue facing Maurice is goaltending. To be fair, he has never coached a team with good goaltending and every single team he has coached has seen their goaltending improve under him, but he still overplays bad goalies. Ondrej Pavelec could play badly without any consequences for years until the last year of his contract. Maurice seems to have no clue what is good goaltending and names a number one because a team is supposed to have one, not realizing that there has never been a Jets goalie worthy of the designation.

If we ignore the defence, which we should for the moment because it is completely impossible to see how one can make three passable pairings with the options presented, Maurice has done a poor job of optimizing what he has been given. While he is not a miracle worker and it is very possible the Jets would not be a playoff team, his butt-fumbling of Petan especially shows that while he has the right idea in his head when it comes to things like playing youth, his execution is poor. This is the problem with Maurice: he is not a good coach or a bad coach, he is just there. The Jets could be a lot worse under a coach like Bob Hartley, but would fair a lot better under a coach like Claude Julien; even if he makes funky decisions all the time.

Paul Maurice has made some odd decisions in his time as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He has had some bad goaltending and made some odd decisions. He has not helped the Jets cut down on penalties taken nor improved their special teams. He is just is. He is a pretty non-descript coach who runs a hard to explain system. It is hard to say what the Jets plans are for him beyond next season, but that should be ironed out soon.

If you were the general manager, would you fire Paul Maurice? If you did, who would you look into hiring to replace him?