Paul Maurice’s 35-game cameo was enough to warrant a long-term extension in Winnipeg — on Wednesday, the Jets re-upped with their bench boss on a four year deal, per the Free Press.
Maurice, who took the Jets gig in January after Claude Noel was fired, went 18-12-5 in his half-season behind the bench, good for an .586 winning percentage. That included the Jets winning 11 of 13 immediately following Noel’s dismissal, briefly clawing their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture before a swoon in March essentially eliminated them from contention.
Regardless, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was pleased with how the team responded to Maurice.
“Obviously very impressed,” Cheveldayoff said of Maurice, per NHL.com. “He’s a quality, quality person as we’ve all known. Certainly he came into a difficult situation and has helped our group perform admirably.”
With Maurice now locked in, eyes will turn to Evander Kane and his future in Winnipeg. A talented power forward that just wrapped the second of a six-year, $31.5 million deal, Kane seemingly ran afoul of Maurice at the end of the season, getting parked as a healthy scratch for breaking a team rule.
Prior to the healthy scratch, news broke that Kane was facing a civil lawsuit pertaining to an alleged assault in Vancouver last summer. It was the latest in a series of transgressions — granted, some minor — that have dotted Kane’s tenure in Winnipeg.