Paul Maurice is the definition of a mediocre coach. He has around a .500 record after coaching over 1000 games. But is that grounds for the Winnipeg Jets to fire him? Arguably no, but arguably yes. Are the Jets the type of team that should have a mediocre coach if a coach can make all the difference?
First of all, let me preface this by saying I do not attend the school of thought that Mike Babcock is infallible and that any team he coaches will win a Stanley Cup. Following Detroit Red Wings fans in his last years with the team showed me that he does a lot of the same stupid things that Maurice is faulted for. Leaving players on the same line for too long, falling in love with the wrong players, and playing slow defencemen too much. It’s a disease.
That said, Paul Maurice should be fired for doing those same things. Over an entire season he only separated Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler for one period. One period. This was while his forwards were struggling overall. Both Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers were having tough seasons and yet Maurice struggled to know what to do with them. Kyle Connor was excellent, but seemed to be moved off of potentially successful lines to play with Scheifele and Wheeler.
And then there was the handling of the defence. Maurice has been infatuated by players like Ben Chiarot and Joe Morrow who are fine seventh defencemen while seeming to be afraid of playing a young player like Sami Niku. When he played, Niku looked better than both Chiarot and Morrow yet he spent a good chunk of this season in the pressbox watching.
Paul Maurice is not a bad coach, but it is also unlikely that he is the coach who leads the Jets to new heights. He makes weird personnel decisions and tends to fall in love with players for no reason. There are better coaches out there in the AHL and it would benefit the Jets to at least see who is available and if it would be worth a change.