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Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice lauds steps taken by Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp & Neal Pionk this season

Asked to highlight a few players who took a step forward the Jets bench boss picked out three.

Jets bench boss Paul Maurice in his end of season media availability this morning was asked to name a few players on his team who took a step this season.  He highlighted three:

Photos Credit: Colby Spence

Kyle Connor:

“Had an exceptional regular season this year where he almost, and I am going to section off his maybe first month having missed training camp, past that there’s just not a lot of times that you’re grabbing Kyle and saying ‘hey you’re last three or four games haven’t been very good what’s going on?’, he’s kinda turned that corner.”

Andrew Copp:

“I thought Andrew Copp made a huge step forward. He’s always been a very, very bright defensive player. His defensive reads are elite. But he’s added another half step to his game through hard training. He’s a little bit quicker and now you’re starting to see the hands develop. His power play goal on his off side goaline to the far post, I mean that’s really impressive things. So we’re seeing Andrew go from, I think, being a player that was shooting to play on that third line his whole career is now taking a step that he can be a piece in a top six role with the right kind of players.”

Neal Pionk:

“Neal Pionk is a new player here but that would be a guy that we had a really strong belief in him as a player but he would have exceeded our expectations. For Neal this is his first year in the NHL where he’s getting primary minutes, he’s driving a power play from the backend and he’s playing against the other team’s best. Lord knows he had an awful lot of different defence partners but that was a guy that, night in and night out, when the coaches are leaving the bench thinking man not only did that guy play hard but he performed well.”