Written by Mark Shannon, who can be found on twitter at @MarkShannon64
The Winnipeg Jets were the story of the summer and now they’re making a push for the playoffs, and are in the weak Southeast Division where they sit tied for 3rd in the Eastern conference with the Florida Panthers for the division lead. They have a solid home record of 18-9-3 and the MTS Centre is rocking every game and night.
This is Kevin Cheveldayoff’s first season at the helm of the Winnipeg Jets and it will be his first trade deadline, yes the Jets are sitting in a tight race to make the playoffs, but do they spend big or do they spend small and bring in small pieces to make the playoffs. Their defence and goaltending is starting to come together and they’re playing good hockey.
The Jets definitely need some size up the middle and a number 1 centre would give them a huge boost, because Burmistrov and Little although extremely talented are both #2 centres in most peoples eyes, How much do you spend on a centre without going against the plan from the beginning, there are a few names out there that might interest the Jets.
Goaltending was an issue at the beginning of the season, but Ondrej Pavelec has stepped up and is making a case to be the #1 goaltender of the future for the Jets and at the present time. With the foot injury to Zach Bogosian the Jets might be looking for the some defensive depth on the roster to augment any more injuries down the line if that so happens.
According to capgeek.com the Jets look to have about 12 million in cap space to spend at the deadline if they so wish, so there really isn’t much cap restraint for the Jets if they really want to go for it right off the bat.
The Jets have most of their picks to dangle as trade bait if they need to, there not stacked with prospects but they do have some prospects that can be dangled, Mark Scheifelle (Most likely an untouchable), Patrice Cormier, Ivan Telegin and Carl Kilngberg.
Here is a list of players that the Jets might be looking at:
JEFF CARTER – Carter was shipped out of Philly in the summer because he had a bad reputation, but he hasn’t fit into Columbus and is looking for a way out and even though he has a 10 year contract with a 5.5 million cap hit, you have to take a look at him. Carter bring size, skill and scoring ability and that’s all the Jets need from a #1 centre in which they don’t have at the present time.
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK – The former 2nd overall pick hasn’t lived up to the hype of being a second overall pick, but has started to step up his point production over the last two seasons. Van Riemsdyk is another tall body, that the Jets can use that has a scoring ability, but he doesn’t use his size to be as physical as most people would want to see him do.
ERIC STAAL – I don’t really see the Hurricanes shipping out their face of the franchise, but if they were the Jets have to be knocking on the door a little to see if they could acquire him. He’s got size, skill, vision, hands and scoring ability what else can you ask from a superstar? You would have to unload the cupboards for Staal, and the Jets don’t have the organizational depth to do that right now.
MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI – He doesn’t have the size the Jets would be looking at, but he does have a scoring ability that they desperately need in the playoffs and with him becoming a free agent at the end of the season and going to be commanding 4.5-5 million in salary he could be a rental player.
PAUL GAUSTAD – Gaustad can bring a lot to the table for a team looking for a playoff push, he has size and can win faceoffs when you’re on the PK, and in desperate need to win a game late.
JAROSLAV SPACEK – The Hurricanes aren’t going to make the playoffs so they could sell off some of there UFA’s that are coming up at the end of the season and Spacek could be a guy that could be had for relatively cheap if he doesn’t sign with the Hurricanes before the deadline.
Whatever happens over the next four days, Kevin Cheveldayoff will definitely be on the phone to a lot of teams trying to improve his club for the stretch run and into the playoffs.