Winnipeg, MB, Canada (4E Sports) – The Winnipeg Jets have removed the interim tag off coach Paul Maurice, signing him to a four-year deal.
Maurice took over mid-season for the fired Claude Noel and turned the team into a playoff contender before tapering off down the stretch.
Despite this, it was enough to convince general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to give Maurice a long-term deal.
“Quite honestly it really didn’t take that long,” Cheveldayoff said. “He’s an impressive hockey coach, but he’s an impressive person as well. Made a tremendous impact the moment he walked in.”
In 35 games with Maurice, the Jets were 18-12-5. They went 19-23-5 this season under Noel. Winnipeg finished the season last in the Central Division with a mark of 37-35-10.
The Jets have yet to reach the playoffs in three seasons since the franchise relocated from Atlanta after the 2010-11 campaign.
The 47-year-old Ontario native owns a career NHL coaching mark of 478-469-172 with Hartford/Carolina (1995-04, 2008-11), Toronto (2006-08) and Winnipeg.
In his first stint with the Hurricanes, Maurice led the club to a pair of Southeast Division titles and the 2002 Eastern Conference championship.
He had two winning seasons in Toronto, but failed to make the playoffs, then took the Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference finals during his second go-round with the club.
Cheveldayoff also announced that the Jets will stick with Ondrej Pavelec as their number one goaltender going into next season despite his struggles.
The 26-year-old Pavelec played 57 games this season, with a 22-26-7 record with a 3.01 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. Pavelec’s GAA and save percentage each ranked 45th among NHL goaltenders.
The Jets’ 2.82 goals allowed per game ranked 22nd in the League, even though their 30.1 shots allowed per game ranked 17th.