After Winnipeg signed five players to the Jets and one for the Manitoba Moose ahead of the NHL trade cut-off Monday, we talked to a local expert on what the new hires mean for team chemistry and performance.
There is no question the Jets picked up new players with a view to strengthening their push for the playoffs, but can adding so many so quickly upset the team dynamic, the locker-room atmosphere? How does adding new talent affect the fine-tuned machine that has led the team to second place in the Central Division?
We spoke with Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, a sports psychologist at the Canadian Sports Centre based at the University of Manitoba.
Q: The Jets shook things up pretty good Monday with five roster player additions. What does that do to a players’ mindset being so close to a playoff push?
A: I think it can do a lot of things, I think everyone has noticed with watching the Jets, there have been some games that have been a bit more of a challenge so I think this helps them in a positive way. They now know the people behind them want to give them the edge so that they can be successful so they’ve gone out and found the right guys.
Q: Do you see any kind of gelling period or a time for these guys to get used to each other before we start seeing the results we want to see?
A: Even if someone slides into the lineup or someone slides out at this point in their careers, they’re fairly used to that and it’s standard practice. At the end of the day everyone knows this is a team that has a chance, so everyone is excited to be a part of it and they all have the same goal.
Q: Bringing in so many new guys expected to play big roles, what are the challenges in that?
A: They have great leadership in their room with Wheeler and the energy he brings. I think they’ll have the right conversations with the right people and they are going to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.
In a nutshell, Toogood thinks the changes, given the confidence of Jets management, will bode well for the team’s run for the cup.