Winnipeg Jets Keep Faith in Claude Noel

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The Winnipeg Jets have made their first important signing of the summer by extending coach, Claude Noel’s contract for another year, keeping him at the franchise until after the 2014-15 season.

The three-year contract Noel signed when the Jets hired him in 2011 was set to expire after next season, but the progress being made under his tenure has now convinced the franchise to keep faith in the 57-year old.

Noel has overseen a 61-56-13 record with the Jets, but once again failed to lead the team into the Stanley Cup play-offs for the second year since their move to Winnipeg; it was their sixth season as a franchise without progressing to the postseason.

But while Noel’s Jets couldn’t quite secure a place in the play-offs, NHL betting pundits note that there were plenty of positives from last season, not least the performances of players like captain Andrew Ladd, forward, Evander Kane, and defenseman, Zach Bogosian.

With assistant coaches, Charlie Huddy, Perry Pearn, and Pascal Vincent all now expected to sign new contracts, Jets general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff, admitted that the management saw no need to change the coaching setup after another season that proved the current coaches are definitely taking this team in the right direction.

“This group deserves the opportunity to continue the job they’ve been doing. I think we’ve seen some young players who have started to come into their own,” said GM Cheveldayoff,

“With the opportunity of having young players on the horizon and knowing Claude’s ability to work with young players to help develop them, that was a strength when we did hire him that again came to the forefront.”

Noel added that he was delighted to be able to continue his work in Winnipeg, insisting he had not worried about his future at the franchise.

“I’m certainly happy to get extended and continue on the process that we’ve started here. I certainly didn’t put a lot of stock into [not having a contract extension]. It was fairly early in the summer. Certainly for me, whether I’m going into my last year or not, I don’t think that it changes the way I coach,” said Noel.

After coming up four points short in 2012-13 as the ninth-place team in the Eastern Conference, Noel will know that this summer will be critical to the franchise’s hopes, if the team hope to defy the NHL betting odds and bring some real success to Winnipeg.

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