By Rob Brent | February 14, 2019 | 12:50pm
The NAHL trade deadline came and went last Wednesday, February 6th. The trade deadline allows organizations to make changes to their roster, plan for the future, and bolster their team for playoff runs. This proved to be a busy day for the Janesville Jet’s front office. However, when all was said and done, the Jets were happy with the results of a transaction packed deadline.
Coaches Corey Leivermann and Lennie Childs sat down with us to discuss some of the moves, and why it has been a step in the right direction for the team.
“We had to make tough decisions” said Head Coach Leivermann, “But we did what was best for the organization. It can be a rough day, but the roster is meshing now”. The Jets managed to acquire multiple tenders (tenders allow teams to add players) on the day, and were able to add to their roster as well. Leivermann points to these as important moves because they not only allow a team to build for the future, but strengthen their core now. “Building for the future is big. We’re trying to create a culture here. We believe the new guys we brought in can help us create that culture.”
Coach Childs assures these moves are not just looking forward, but also provide a benefit for the Jets this season. “The players we brought in can help us right now. This team is closer than it was before. We made moves to win”.
When asked which of the new acquisitions could play an important role going into the playoffs, both coaches identified forward Matt Kirwan as a crucial piece of the puzzle. “We like what Matt brings to this team. He’s versatile, can kill penalties, we can stick him on the powerplay. He plays defense and brings a positive attitude to the locker room. None of that may be too flashy, but those are the guys that win games in this league”. Kirwan is one of the four new Jets that have been added as the playoff push shapes up.
Overall, the Jets front office was able to balance winning this season with planning for the future. The coaches, team, and organization view this deadline as a success.
JANESVILLE JETS ADDITIONS
NICK GONROWSKI, D
Nick Gonrowski was acquired the earliest of the four new Jets, and has already became a stable part of the lineup. He has competed in 7 of the 8 games the Jets have played since his arrival. Gonrowski provides a stable presence on the blue line that helped solidify a Jets defensive core that had been going through a rough patch at the time of his acquisition. He has registered 3 assists in 7 games as a Jet.
BRENDON JONES, F
Brendon Jones is the newest Jet, and has not yet made it into the lineup. However, he does come with NAHL experience, having played 10 games this season for the Lone Star Brahmas.
MATT KIRWAN, F
Kirwan began this season with the Aberdeen Wings, scoring a goal and registering 3 assists in 11 games. Kirwan provides the Jets a versatile skill set, and can be plugged into any place in the lineup. He has suited up for both games he has been available for, and is likely to be an integral part of the lineup moving forward.
JOHN PROKOP, D
Prokop brings elite talent to the Jets’ blueline. The Wausau native has already committed to play D1 college hockey at perennial contender University of Miami (OH). Prokop spent the first part of the year playing for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, but has now come to Janesville for the playoff push. In 5 games with the Jets, Prokop has recorded 2 assists, and is playing at a +2 rating.
At the deadline, the Jets also acquired tenders. Tenders are the method through which NAHL teams acquire talent not yet in the league. Per the NAHL, “Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team”. Each club is allotted 10 tenders at the beginning of the year, however they can be traded away or acquired as assets. The Jets gained two tenders at the deadline allowing the organization to recruit more players for the future.
The Jets were able to accomplish their goals on two fronts this trade deadline, allowing the team to build towards the future as well as solidify their lineup for this season. A team that had started to look like they may be in turmoil has now won 3 games in a row, and 4 of their last 5. The acquisitions of Nick Gonrowski, Brendon Jones, Matt Kirwan, and John Prokop have paid dividends for Janesville, and the team will have to hope this continues into the playoffs.
The Jets will look to maintain their third place standing in the division as they play the Springfield Jr. Blues in Janesville this weekend. Tickets can be bought Online, or at any Lions Quick Mart Location