Five Pieces The Jets Could Add Ahead Of Deadline Day

The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching — here are five names the Jets should target

*Author’s note: While I was writing this piece, the Jets acquired centre Cody Eakin from the Vegas Golden Knights for a conditional fourth-round pick.  This may make some of the centres I suggest below seem a bit redundant, but with the injuries to Bryan Little and Adam Lowry, further bolstering the centre position isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I still believe some of the suggested names make sense.

The NHL Trade Deadline is this Monday and the Winnipeg Jets currently find themselves in the first wildcard position in the Western Conference with a 32-25-5 record.

As of this writing, the Jets are currently one point up on the Calgary Flames (31-24-6), who have one game in hand on the Jets; one point up on the Arizona Coyotes (30-26-8), who the Jets have two games in hand on; four points up on the Nashville Predators (29-23-7), who have three games in hand on the Jets; and six points up on the Minnesota Wild (28-24-7), who have three games in hand on Winnipeg.  Those five teams will duke it out for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. The three division leaders in the Pacific (Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks) and the struggling Chicago Blackhawks are also teams of interest in the wildcard race.

The Jets are 7-2-1 in their past ten games and are currently on a three-game winning streak with victories over the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks.  Kevin Cheveldayoff’s acquisition of Dylan DeMelo from Ottawa on Tuesday seems to show the team intends to be a buyer at the deadline this year.

Some of the earlier trades, such as 37-year-old Andy Greene garnering the New Jersey Devils a second-round pick and prospect David Quenneville, and the Tampa Bay Lightning giving up top prospect Nolan Foote and a first-round pick just for Blake Coleman suggest the deadline might be a bit of a seller’s market.  Big trade chips like Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Ottawa Senators and Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers will likely cost you a first-round pick plus a prospect.  If that’s the case, I’d like Chevy to take after his savvy addition of Dylan DeMelo and go bargain shopping at the deadline.  The Jets might make the playoffs this year but aren’t contenders.  I think the Jets should stay away from the high-priced rentals, like Kevin Hayes last year, and look to add some smaller, more low-profile pieces as the team pushes towards making the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

 

Here are five players I think would be good fits in Winnipeg:

 

Barclay Goodrow (San Jose Sharks)

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I mentioned in my piece on DeMelo that I thought Goodrow would fit like a glove in Winnipeg, so let’s dive a little deeper into that thought.

Goodrow is currently 17th on TSN’s Trade Bait list.  He has one more year left on his contract worth 925k per year.  Goodrow has eight goals and 24 points in 60 games this season for the Sharks, centering their second line where he’s flanked by Patrick Marleau and Stefan Noesen.  He brings 22 playoff games of experience to the table, including 20 last season.  He scored the series-clinching goal in overtime of Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Quarter-Finals.

The Sharks find themselves out of a playoff spot right now and might be looking to shed some pieces as they head towards a rebuild.  All eyes are on “Jumbo” Joe Thornton, but a guy like Goodrow could be available at a decent price.  The Jets just dropped a conditional fourth-round pick to Vegas for Cody Eakin, but a mid-round pick like this year’s fourth or next year’s third — we’d have to play with that pick, as it might end up in Vegas — plus a guy like Michael Spacek (a decent albeit unspectacular forward prospect currently playing for the Manitoba Moose) could be enough to get the Sharks to bite (no pun intended).

At just 26 years of age and with another year left on his very affordable contract, Goodrow could become a fixture of the Jets for years to come.  As mentioned, he’s currently playing second line minutes in San Jose and while I don’t see him as any kind of permanent 2C solution for the Jets, he could be a valuable depth piece down the middle.

Tyler Ennis (Ottawa Senators)

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Speaking of forwards, the Jets could bring over one of DeMelo’s old teammates by going after Tyler Ennis of the Ottawa Senators.  Ennis is currently listed as #30 on TSN’s Trade Bait list and while they have him listed as a centre, dailyfaceoff.com reports he is currently playing the third line left wing spot alongside rookie Drake Batherson and sophomore Colin White.  Ennis is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency this summer as he comes off of a one-year deal worth 800k.  Ennis is having a really good year with 14 goals and 33 points in 61 games.  I’ve heard reports that Ottawa wants to re-sign him but if not he would look good in a Jets jersey.

The 30-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta has 604 games of NHL experience and would likely push a guy like Nick Shore out of the lineup.  Ennis is a defensively responsible forward who can kill penalties and might work as a centre in Winnipeg.  His role (likely on the fourth line) would be similar to Shore’s although Ennis brings much more offence to the table.  His play with youngsters Batherson and White this year suggests he could also fit in with some of the younger talents on the Jets, namely Jack Roslovic, Jansen Harkins and Mason Appleton.  If Maurice elects to break up that 2015 line, then Ennis could be a guy who meshes well with any of the three.

As an upcoming UFA, I wouldn’t offer much for Ennis.  The Senators likely want picks, so trading a guy like Michael Spacek or C.J. Suess wouldn’t make as much sense so I’d see if we could nab him for a mid-round pick. Perhaps a couple of them.  Our fourth-rounder this year and third next year (again, this will require some finessing after the Eakin trade).

Michael Del Zotto (Anaheim Ducks)

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Chevy might not be done on the defensive side.  Adding DeMelo was a brilliant move to shore up the right side of the defence.  Michael Del Zotto is a decent idea to help provide some depth on the left.  Behind Josh Morrissey, the Jets don’t have a ton of help on the left-side of their D. Dmitry Kulikov is doing a fairly good job this season but he has injury concerns.  Nathan Beaulieu, Luca Sbisa and even Anthony Bitetto have done alright this season but it may not be sustainable heading into the playoffs.  Del Zotto might not add much more than those guys, and he hasn’t been to the playoffs in almost a decade, but he could be had for almost nothing.

The Ducks are on the way down and might be willing to take anything for an upcoming UFA in Del Zotto.  Del Zotto is a former first-round pick and is only owed 750k against the cap this year.  He has two goals and 11 points in 38 games this season.  He has been a respectable plus-2 this season on a putrid Ducks team.  Stats-wise, Del Zotto has had a better season than the highly sought-after Josh Manson.  Like Beaulieu last year, giving Del Zotto an audition in Winnipeg at the cost of something like a sixth-round pick would be a bright move by Chevy that could pay off nicely if Del Zotto fits here and re-signs.

Jesse Puljujarvi (Edmonton Oilers)

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Technically, Puljujarvi wouldn’t be able to help the Jets this season, as he’s playing in Finland, but his value is at a low right now and he could be a wise pickup for Winnipeg.  Puljujarvi was selected fourth overall less than four years ago and at just 21 years of age, I’d be hard-pressed to already call him a bust.  Right now, he’s scoring at nearly a point-per-game with league-leading Karpat.  Let him tear up the Liiga and go on a championship run this spring and then see if the prospect of playing with fellow countryman Patrik Laine is enough to convince Puljujarvi to hop back across the pond this fall.

What would I give up for him?  That’s hard to tell.  The Oilers kind of really seemed to have snafued his development but he’s still an intriguing prospect.  If he pans out and ultimately reaches the level that the Oilers (and the rest of the hockey world, really) expected of him on draft day with the Jets, then Winnipeg’s winger group would be stupendous and we would have one of best forward crops in the league.  It would be sick.  See if Edmonton bites on a guy like Logan Stanley, or even throw a second-round pick their way.  MAYBE a maximum of two second-round picks.  Despite his potential, Pulju is still a reclamation project who may never play in North America again.  We can’t afford to give up too much for him.

Max Domi (Montreal Canadiens)

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I know I said Chevy should be rummaging through the bargain bin this deadline, but I have to throw at least one big fish in there, even if it’s unlikely and more for the reader’s sake.  Max Domi would be fantastic in a Jets jersey.  He’s your long-term fix at 2C.  He’s an upcoming RFA as he comes off his two-year, 3.15 million per year bridge deal but the Jets would likely be able to offer him a six or seven-year contract worth his while.  He had 72 points last season and is doing decent this year with 13 goals and 38 points in 63 games.  Him having a bit of an off-year is actually good for Winnipeg.  It lowers both his current trade value and his future cap hit.

Born in Winnipeg while his father Tie played for the original Jets, Max Domi was rumoured to be on the Jets radar during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  The Phoenix Coyotes picked Domi 12th overall and the Jets settled for Josh Morrissey with the next selection.  It worked out for the Jets, but I think they’d still like to add Domi to the mix. With Phillip Danault, Nick Suzuki and Ryan Poehling down the middle, Domi is expendable for Montreal.

To bring Domi here, I would start by offering our first-round pick, Sami Niku and Kristian Vesalainen.  Our first-round pick should hold value, especially if we miss the playoffs.  The Habs’ greatest need is arguably on the right side of the defence and while it’s not exactly our strength, we should deal from it if it means getting a long-term 2C to play behind Scheifele.  Niku hasn’t gotten as much ice time as I would’ve liked this season.  He’s still a very good young player, but at 23 years of age, he’s expendable if we can bring in the 24-year-old Domi.  Vesalainen is arguably our best prospect but the wing is our strength.  You deal from an area of strength to address an area of weakness.  Vesalainen has real potential and could fit nicely in Montreal.  We wouldn’t lose any of our big wingers if we gave him up and our wingers would still be near the top of the league (especially if Chevy brings in Puljujarvi as I suggested).

There’s a chance the Canadiens would ask for Jack Roslovic as part of the deal.  It would be a bit redundant for the Habs to do this given the centres they have, but Roslovic might be more appealing to them than Vesalainen.  It would hurt, but I think if Montreal wants Roslo then we would have to sub him in for Vesa.  Domi is essentially what we hope Roslovic becomes.  Additionally, Roslovic is playing great right now, so it may be smart to sell high on him.

It’s a lot to give up, but it would be one real blockbuster that could solve a lot of problems for the Jets.  It would be interesting to see, that’s for sure.

 

What do you think of the players discussed in this article?  What would you like to see the Jets do at the deadline?  Let me know in the comment section, or Tweet me, @WHTRiley.  I would love to talk hockey with you.

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