Winnipeg Jets: To Trade Or Not To Trade?

That Is The Question —

The “2014 Trade Deadline” will undoubtedly test the metal of the Winnipeg Jets development plan.  With the news this morning that the teams number 1B Centre, Mark Scheifele, will be lost due to an MCL injury for upwards of 8 weeks, the teams playoff aspirations have taken a serious hit.  Not so much in that number 55’s production was that impactful but what it means in how Kevin Cheveldayoff proceeds here at the 11th hour.

Are the Winnipeg Jets ready to contend for Lord Stanley’s Prize?

The short answer is of course, they’re not.  That said, the team is still in a conundrum for many reasons.  The road to the promised land is a balance of good drafting, strategic Free Agent signings, and savvy trades.  Either one of these on their own, creates problems.  Historically, this franchise has been a collection of solid players that simply fall short.  This version of the Jets have core players that simply cannot wait for the youth to come around. 

The last few days you have heard local media personalities on TSN 1290 Radio talk about not making a trade because they’re not going to go far into the playoffs anyway.  Isn’t that a defeatist approach?  It seems logical that this is the precise time to make a trade to get into the playoffs as this team needs someone to push them to a new level.  Let’s not lose sight of this important fact.  You must get into the playoffs in order to win the Stanley Cup!!  There are plenty of teams in the league that make playoffs each year but never get out of the first or second round.  All you need to look at as an example is the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings.  There are years when they go deeper but the reality is I’d rather been in the playoffs each year than not.  Once you’re in, who knows what will happen?  Do you think the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers thought any differently when they were both one game away from winning it all?

Now or Later?

Winning now should not be an “at all costs” approach for the Winnipeg Jets because they’re not ready to make the run.  The only way to learn how to win is by getting a taste of the playoffs and see what it takes.  At this stage, it appears the Jets are not prepared to trade their current UFAs for prospects.  That would only send a bad message to the veteran players and a coach who’s on the fence in signing a longer terms contract.  Should the Jets make a hockey trade?  Given the injury to Scheifele, I say yes please.  Do they?  I’m not so sure Chevy’s got the appetite.

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Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele will be out 6-8 weeks          image by Shawn Coates

The lack of appetite to make a hockey move could be another dagger in Chevy’s ability to grow this team and get them out of the obvious state of mediocrity it finds itself in.  Not good enough to make it in and not bad enough to get that blue chip prospect that sets the world on fire. 

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Is Dustin Byfuglien in play?                     image by Shawn Coates

This year’s “Trade Deadline” is interesting and challenged by recent events but I do think making a move could be the very thing the Winnipeg Jets need to get over the hump.  If rumors of a Byfuglien to Philadelphia for Brayden Schenn are true, that is a deal that would accomplish two things.  First off, it acquires a piece that adds to the center depth.  Schenn can also play the left side which makes losing Setoguchi an instant upgrade when Scheifele returns.  Secondly, it brings a 22 year old player into the fold that matches the current young talent.  This is the type of hockey trade the Jets should make in their sleep and yet is consistent with the teams development plans.  Of course, a straight up deal isn’t wise but could involve some additional picks coming the Jets way.

The Winnipeg Jets have shown themselves capable of playing to another level under Coach Maurice’s system.  It would seem like the right time to make a move that pushes this team to another level and ensure a culture of winning is instilled.  The coach has done his part, the players have done another, and now it’s in Chevy’s court to his.

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Comments

  1. Mitch Kasprick says

    I guess our question was answered BUT I would have liked to see what would have happened if Scheifele wasn’t injured on trade deadline eve.

    • Yes, the injury appears to have changed things. I have been very quiet as it relates to Chevy in the past. That may change now as I really feel he’s missed the boat. The argument from Hustler and Leibl today was “whatever, they weren’t going to get past first round anyway” is an absolute ridiculous statement. The team needs to learn at every step including potentially early exits from playoffs. That was simply them trying to be party line towers and came off as stupid.

      You have to do something to make yourself better every chance you get. Doing nothing for two trade deadlines in a row with UFA or a pure hockey deal is not very good. Funny how other GM’s were shrewd enough to make deals (ahem…Tim Murray). Chevy has UFA he will now be forced to sign in the off season that won’t make the team better or he will let them walk. In the case of Setoguchi he needed to get something for him. He will have effectively traded away his 2nd pick (which is arguably the best pick in any draft) for nothing. Can you say Garth Snow???

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