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Winnipeg Jets Hire From Within for their Head Coach Role

The Winnipeg Jets have named their new head coach just a couple weeks after Rick Bowness decided to call it a career. Scott Arniel will be the Winnipeg Jets franchise’s tenth head coach in its history. This is the version of the franchise after the reincarnation of the Jets franchise, the one that originally was the Atlanta Thrashers back in 1999-2000. Ten coaches in just 25 years of existence does seem like a lot, hopefully Arniel can keep the feeling of stability within the team going following Rick Bowness‘ successful two-year tenure. Bowness had a very impressive .625 win% in those two years, but only managed one playoff win in each of the two post-season trips. Bringing in a fresh mind to the head coach role, could spark the Jets group looking to get over the proverbial hump.

Scott Arniel Hired as Winnipeg Jets Head Coach

Scott Arniel was all too glad to accept his promotion from General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Before he was hired as the head coach, Arniel had been working on Bowness’ staff as a Jets Associate Coach. Even though Arniel has been around the game his whole life, this will only be his second NHL head coaching gig. His first definitely deserved a do-over, but this is the business of the NHL, and it has been a long-time coming.

In 2010, Arniel was brought on as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he put up a .439 win% in a year and a half before being relieved of his duties at that time. That job had been a reward for all his success as bench boss of the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Prior to the Columbus job, he had spent four seasons there, with decent success. He guided the Moose to four consecutive post-season trips, including the 2009 loss in the Calder Cup finals. Since getting into coaching in the early 2000s, Arniel has been an associate or assistant coach for four NHL franchises, totaling 14 seasons.

What Does It Mean for the Jets Team

The Winnipeg Jets team that Arniel inherits is a strong one, but still has room for improvement. One of the main areas to improve is their specialty teams. In the regular season, the club had an 18.8% power play and a 77.1% penalty kill. Both below the league averages of 21.0% and 79.0%, respectively. There is plenty of talent in the group to work with, but improving the specialty teams will be one of Arniel’s main priority. The other offseason challenges fall in the lap of the GM. The Jets would like to round out their roster, and it appears the upcoming free agent Nikolaj Ehlers will be a top bargaining chip.

With top notch NHL goaltending already in place with 2023-24 William Jennings Award won already and a Vezina Trophy finalist in Connor Hellebuyck. Also, there is star power on the roster for Arniel to work with, as well as some up-and-comers in the prospect pool. Arniel comes in with good standing in the organization and look for him to develop players like Cole Perfetti or Colby Barlow into NHL regulars.

Main photo credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports


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