The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching; about 10 days away. It’s actually marked on the calendar I stare down in my office. Trade deadline day is like Christmas for me, well Christmas is like Christmas, but this is like a second Christmas. I’m simple. I have a blast following all the rumors and speculation that lead up to the deadline: Who are the buyers? Who are the sellers? With the Jets being back this deadline has a little extra spice to it. And much like my chicken, Dave likes his trade deadline spicy.
The Jets’ playoff hopes are fading quicker than Marty McFly’s family picture. And it looks like the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance is going to come to an end without the kiss. While a lot of teams would be sellers in this situation, the Jets are not. The Jets are buyers. The Jets are buyers because they’re builders. Maybe we’re not buying for 2012, but we’re definitely in the market for 2013 and 2014. We’re not in the situation the Leafs were a few years ago (and the Flames continue to be) where we have to ‘blow it up’. There’s no garage sale to be had (Winnipeg has enough of those) and the For Sale sign can stay in the barn. We have nothing to blow up because we’re still laying the foundation.
The Jets won’t rock the NHL landscape come February 27. That’s not to say there are not potential moves to be made. The Jets management I’m sure have sat down, looked at the roster and taken stock of what they have, what they need, and what they can part with. Most of our Unrestricted Free Agents: Jim Slater, Tanner Glass, Kyle Wellwood, Tim Stapleton, Johnny Oduya, Randy Jones and Mark Flood could help other teams in varying degrees. Of course, management will want to bring back some of these players, so not all can or will be dealt (if any at all). We have three Restricted Free Agents: Evander Kane, Ondrej Pavlec and Eric Fehr, but I can’t imagine any scenarios where Pavlec and Kane are moved as they most definitely figure into the Jets long term plans. There are also some undesirable contracts (in my opinion) like Ron Hainesy and Nikolai Antropov on our payroll with still a year left on them, players that are overpaid; if not for their skill, but just for the role they have on our roster.
So who ever we move, if anyone, we’ll be making these moves not out of desperation, but instead out of a careful assessment of how to add to our foundation and building for the successful future the Jets will no doubt have. Whether we get roster players in return that can find a spot on our team next fall, prospects we’ll have to develop in either the junior ranks or in St. John’s, or draft picks we’ll be introduced to at the end of June (or next June), it’s all for the good of our future. So while I don’t believe we’re sellers, maybe buyers might also not be the best term. Instead, at the Trade Deadline on February 27, the Winnipeg Jets will be Investors.