On January 30, I published an article wondering if the Jets should be sellers at the trade deadline. A month later, that dynamic surrounding the Winnipeg Jets has changed a little bit.
The Jets are now in the middle of the hunt for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Jets are in the middle of their journey to make the playoffs, but are the Jets really invested and “all in” on making a run at the playoffs?
It’s a sticky situation because at the beginning of the year the Jets said their season goal was to make the playoffs.
The Jets are facing a dilemma; they have UFA players that could bring back a nice return instead of letting the players walk in the summer without any return going the Jets way.
Should the Jets trade away UFA forwards Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi? Or maybe hard working defenceman Mark Stuart?
In Paul Maurice’s first press conference as the Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets, he stated that the Jets’ goal is to make the playoffs. A key part of making a run at the playoffs is to have depth. Trading away some UFA players eliminates solid depth for the Jets.
Since getting to the playoffs is the goal, should the Jets be calling other teams looking for rental players to help them during their playoff run?
It’s unusual for a team that isn’t guaranteed a spot in the playoffs to acquire a player to rent for the remainder of the season. But, if the Jets are interested in a rental player, there are plenty of players available.
Big name players like Matt Moulson and Thomas Vanek are available but the price to retain one of these players is very high. To acquire these players, it wouldn’t only be a high price that would scare away the Jets; both of those players are UFA at the end of the season, so there would be a serious risk that they would not return the following season.
And at that point, the Jets would have given up a first round pick for essentially nothing.
The Jets might not need to acquire a player. After the Olympic break Jets forwards Evander Kane and Jim Slater have returned from injury and it appears Matt Halischuk is a short while away from returning as well.
With a full healthy lineup, I say the Jets take a run at the playoffs.
With this lineup and the promising effort they have displayed lately, I think the Jets have the ability to make a realistic shot at the playoffs.
If the Jets don’t make the playoffs, and they kept all of their upcoming UFA’s, the Jets could potentially be in trouble.
At that point the Jets have UFA’s who aren’t guaranteed to stay with the Jets and if they leave they have nothing in return.
If the Jets trade all of their upcoming UFA’s and retain draft picks that could help the Jets in the future.
The Jets have to make decisions, they need to find out by March 5 what they are going to do at free agency.
I think that those decisions will be made after the team plays there last three games before the trade deadline. After that, the team will probably know if they’re buyers, sellers or staying put with what they have.
Devin Setoguchi is a player the Jets should trade. Setoguchi has been a bust for the Jets this season. The Jets gave up a second round pick for the right-winger. It doesn’t seem likely that the Jets would sign Setoguchi in the off season. For this reason the Jets should trade him at the deadline so they at least can get some compensation for the lack of productivity from Setoguchi. They won’t get a second round pick back, that’s for sure. But maybe they will get a fifth round pick or maybe if a team really loves Setoguchi the Jets could get a fourth round draft pick. There are teams interested in Setoguchi and for the right team he could be an effective depth forward on a contending team.
Whatever happens on March 5, happens. It all depends on the outcome of the Jets next three games. But one thing is for sure; no matter what route the Jets take, there will be questions looming.
Can the Jets make the playoffs this year, or will they barley miss it like the last two years?
I guess we will have to wait and see.
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.