Winnipeg Jets: Is Claude Noel Mismanaging the Jets?

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Winnipeg Jets: Is Claude Noel Mismanaging the Jets?
Marianne Helm/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets headed into Sunday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with a 2-0 record. It wasn’t always pretty in the prior two games, but the Jets still got the job done.

However, on Sunday night Claude Noel made a few key lineup changes. And coincidently, the Jets looked sluggish and out of sync. The Jets fell to the Ducks in a 3-2 loss, but the game wasn’t as close as the score may indicate.

Noel must not have heard the old saying that goes, "If it isn’t broke then don’t fix it."

The first set of changes came on defense.

Noel moved youngster Jacob Trouba to the third defensive pairing to make room for the returning Grant Clitsome in the top four. Paul Postma was the healthy scratch, which meant Trouba was paired with Mark Stuart while Clitsome was paired with Zach Bogosian.

These changes seemed counter-intuitive to the Jets' success. Why fix something that isn’t broke? Of course Clitsome has to get back into the lineup, but it would have made more sense to stick him on the struggling third pair.

In the first two games, Trouba was paired with Bogosian and it was arguably the Jets' best pairing. Postma was paired with Stuart and it was by far the Jets' worst pairing, no debate about it. It would have made more sense to see Clitsome replace Postma or Stuart.

Breaking up Trouba and Bogosian didn’t seem like the correct thing to do. Bogosian struggled mightily and basically gave the winning goal to the Ducks for free. Clitsome played the worst professional hockey game of his life.

Aside from the defensive issues, Noel made some changes up front that also caused some problems. He started Anthony Peluso over Chris Thorburn on the fourth line. That wasn’t the problem though. Noel’s addiction with James Wright was the problem in Sunday night's game and has been the problem for the Jets.

Wright continually gets chances on the third line even though Eric Tangradi has completely outplayed him. He’s continually on the ice late in the game when the Jets need a goal. And for what? What exactly does he provide other than the ability to skate?

The fact that Mark Scheifele and Devin Setoguchi—two key cogs on the second line—were benched for most of the third period while Wright logged more ice time is an issue. It’s a growing concern.

Would there have been a different outcome Sunday night if Noel left things the way they were? One thing that isn’t up for debate is the fact that the Jets lost. Not only did they lose, but they also got completely outplayed. It was entirely one-sided for a full 60 minutes.

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