Winnipeg Jets fans rarely have anything in common with their counterparts in Toronto. This off-season could be one of those exceptions.
There are very few things Jets Nation enjoys more than seeing Maple Leafs fans wallow in misery over the struggles of their hockey team.
But this spring, the narrative coming out of the self-proclaimed “center of the hockey universe” is very similar to what we have been hearing in this market since the Jets’ early exit versus Vegas.
It’s time to part company with the core. Or at least some of it.
Since 2017-18, Toronto has been significantly better than the Jets during the regular season. The Leafs have a .649 winning percentage over those six seasons compared with .593 for Winnipeg.
But it’s the lack of playoff success where these two franchises are pretty much joined at the hip. Toronto has one series victory in seven tries and a .431 winning percentage. The Jets are 3-5 in the eight series they have played, with a winning percentage of .425.
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are the names mentioned most often in Winnipeg. To a certain extent, Pierre-Luc Dubois makes that a trio, but for all intents and purposes it is strongly believed “that little piggy is going to market” one year from now. So that decision has been pretty well made for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.
In ‘The 6ix,” it’s the core four of Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander who are the targets of a tapped-out fan base. And the general manager and head coach need to be swapped up as well.
Changes should be contemplated by both hockey teams — but only when the dust, and emotions, settle.
Running it back doesn’t seem to be an option in either city, at least where the paying customers are concerned.
But making a hasty decision and potentially running it into the ground isn’t the answer either, if the end goal is to produce more favourable results in April, May and ultimately June.