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Game #32 – Hawks vs. Jets Q&A: Derek Gagnon From Arctic Ice Hockey

Derek Gagnon is a contributor at ArcticIce.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekGagnon1.

Overhanging the Jets season is a sort of “Cap-ocalypse” in the summer. Does this season have a feeling of now or never?
Not so much, though there is a feeling that this group will see some change next year. This team is still young, and players like Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine should only improve as time goes by. The way things are going, the Jets should be a contender for a number of years to come.
With the cap going to $83 million or so, the Jets have something around $27 million in space now, with Trouba, Laine, Connor seemingly the must-keeps, along with a few other free agents. It seems doable, Is it?
I think it’s doable, though some sacrifices will have to be made along the way. Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor look to be Jets long term, and will get paid handsomely on their next contracts. There are some questions on defense though. The Jacob Trouba contract situation has been a concern for years, and with only one more season of restricted-free agent status left after this season, if they aren’t able to sign him long term it may be time to move him in the off-season. Tyler Myers is another situation that needs addressing. He’s being paid $5.5 million¬† this year to play third pairing minutes, and not play them overly well. As an unrestricted free agent, I would expect the Jets to cut ties, but they may not if the Trouba contract isn’t long-term.

The cap being projected to go up to $83 million definitely works in the Jets favor, as that extra room will come in handy. Even then, it might mean more players on entry-level contracts on the team, rather than guys like Brandon Tanev. Mason Appleton and Kristian Vesalainen are a couple of names that could benefit from a cap crunch.

Why hasn’t Jack Roslovic popped more? Huge pedigree, big excitement, is it just the fourth line role he has right now?
Right now, I think it’s a combination of a lack of minutes and the insistence he play center, where he seems to be struggling. While dominant at the AHL level, it just hasn’t clicked at the NHL level yet. Things seemed to be progressing when he was briefly reunited with the former Manitoba Moose (AHL) line of Nic Petan, Roslovic and Mason Appleton, but Petan was dropped from the lineup in favor of Brendan Lemieux and there hasn’t been chemistry. Playing an average of 7:43 per night doesn’t help either.
Is there real worry about Connor Hellebuyck two months plus into the season? Or just negotiating the following season after playing deep into the playoffs for the first time and he’ll bounce back in plenty of time?
I think that it actually might be the change in pads that has plagued Connor Hellebuyck. The smaller chest protector seems to be taking some getting used to for Hellebuyck, which has seen more rebounds and the occasional tentative effort. I have full confidence that he will adapt and overcome, as he has exhibited his ability to be great at every level he has played at, including the NHL. His last three starts have been quite solid, stopping a combined 89 of 92 shots, so perhaps that corner has been turned.


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