Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets riffs

Free Press hockey writer Ed Tait tosses out four Jets-related subjects/issues/questions for fans to debate:

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1. THE FREEZE IS ALMOST OVER

The NHL's Olympic roster freeze ends Sunday night at 10:59 p.m., meaning GMs can get busy tinkering with their lineups right up until the March 5 trade deadline. The most-often mentioned Jets in trade rumours, will understandably be unrestricted free agents Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi, Chris Thorburn, Mark Stuart, Adam Pardy and Al Montoya.

 

2. THE FREEZE IS ALMOST OVER, PART II

Some quick hitters related to this:

Does GM Kevin Cheveldayoff move pieces for draft picks, immediate help or both?

Could Eric O'Dell replace Jokinen as the third-line centre if he is shipped out?

With Evander Kane healthy again and the Top 6 set, do the Jets even contemplate moving one of the pieces on their top two lines?

How much does chemistry matter in the push for a playoff spot?

 

3. HEALTHY BODIES OPTIONS

The return of Kane, Jim Slater and Matt Halischuk from injury dramatically impacts the line combos heading into the trading-frenzy period. Kane will likely be reunited with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler while Thorburn could drop down to form a fourth line with Slater and Halischuk. That said, then, what do the Jets do with the likes of Eric Tangradi, James Wright and Anthony Peluso? Worth noting: three current Jets are on two-way contracts -- Halischuk, Scheifele and Jacob Trouba. And the two youngsters aren't going anywhere.

 

4. PAVELEC & MONTOYA OR PAVELEC VS. MONTOYA?

Both goaltenders have posted solid numbers under Paul Maurice, but Pavelec's Olympics was all over the map. He didn't play in the Czech opener, was yanked after surrendering four goals on 12 shots in a loss to the Americans, finished with an .889 save percentage but was also the winning goalie in a win over rival Slovakia. In short, his Olympics was a snapshot of his NHL career to date.

Question, then: how does this affect Pavelec's workload with the Jets down the stretch with the Jets, if at all? More to the point: should -- or could -- the final 22 games of the 2013-14 season essentially be a referendum on Pavelec's future as a Jet?

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2014 C8

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