NO one but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and members of his inner circle know how the Winnipeg Jets feel about their coach Claude Noel right now. But if Alain Vigneault finds himself on the street in the coming days, the mystery may end.

Cheveldayoff needs to determine whether Noel has overachieved with a subpar roster or held back his team with poor coaching. At this point, the answer is not clearly evident.

But if the Vancouver Canucks do what many think they will and fire Vigneault, keep an eye on Cheveldayoff to see if he makes a play.

Under normal circumstances, one would expect the Jets organization to exercise patience with Noel and let time reveal his exact worth. But if the Canucks — ousted from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the first round for the second straight season — get twitchy and fire this established and tremendously successful coach, Cheveldayoff will at the very least have to consider taking a run at Vigneault.

Cheveldayoff was asked at season’s end if Noel would be back running the Jets and he would not say yes.

"The answer is, that everybody that is under contract is under contract," said Cheveldayoff. "It’s one of those things when you talk about a coach at this point in time, if I say something one way or say something the other way, it’s always misconstrued. There should be no interjection or expectation that Claude Noel is not the coach. The question then leads to, ‘Well, then you must be signing him to an extension.’ There’s a process in place to deal with these things.

"It’s a question that has to be asked. Claude Noel is the coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He is under contract and as we move forward the processes will unfold."

Cheveldayoff could easily have said he wanted Noel back. The extension question could have been handled by saying it hadn’t been discussed yet. But Cheveldayoff, for his own reasons, left the door open. Maybe he doesn’t want to tip his hand prior to negotiations. Maybe he wants to bring Noel back on a short leash. Or maybe he wants to replace him.

The only thing known for certain is that when given a chance to say his coach would be back, Cheveldayoff demurred.

Noel was hired to coach a hockey team with a group of core players that had never made the playoffs together. They still haven’t. The core has not dramatically changed. In fact, Cheveldayoff subtracted from the roster to collect draft picks at the 2012 trade deadline, and at the same juncture in 2013, did nothing.

All moves of a GM who has repeatedly stressed the need for patience while he restocks the organization’s player pool.

The coach could make the argument the GM has done little to help him, that he’s been doing his job, patiently waiting for the program to kick in and supply him with a roster both talented and deep.

The Jets were woefully shallow at forward this season and the blue-line featured a lot of youth. In the end, the Jets were a middling roster, achieving similar results.

It’s true Noel hasn’t had a lot to work with but one might also argue he hasn’t been able to get this group to take the next step. It’s all perspective and Cheveldayoff’s on the matter is both unknown and all powerful.