The Winnipeg Jets announced on Wednesday that they have signed head coach Paul Maurice to a multi-year contract extension to remain behind the team’s bench.
No terms on the contract (financial or number of years) were released by the team.
Maurice has been the Jets’ head coach since the middle of the 2013-14 season and has compiled a 264-183-53 record, leading the team to the playoffs three different times.
Given the way the Jets faded down the stretch in the second half last year, as well as the fact Maurice was entering the final year of his contract and coaching a team that had seen its entire defense be decimated over the offseason, there was an expectation that he could find himself on the hot seat. Despite the undermanned nature of their defense, the Jets have managed to hang around in the Western Conference playoff race. They enter play on Wednesday one point out of a Wild Card spot.
One of the biggest factors in their ability to remain in the race has been the play of starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. He has been a game-changer and season-saver in the team’s net, currently carrying a .919 save percentage (far above the league average) despite facing one of the league’s heaviest workloads in terms of games played and shots faced. As long as he has been playing at a Vezina caliber level, the Jets have had a chance.
This is Maurice’s 22nd years as an NHL head coach, having also previously worked for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes (on two separate occasions) and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His 724 career wins are currently seventh on the NHL’s all-time list.