While the Winnipeg Jets aren’t exactly down and out yet and are just three points outside of a playoff spot during their player break, a sluggish 6-5-2 December followed up by an even more brutal 3-7-1 January (with one more game left to play at the end of this month) has put the club in a bit of a dire situation with very few signs that things will improve. It’s a feeling that has led many Jets fans to feel that the team should maybe write this current season off, sell off some key assets for picks and prospects and start reloading for 2020-21.
At the NHL Trade Deadline, should the #NHLJets be buyers, sellers, or should they stand pat?
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) January 27, 2020
So it came as a surprise to a lot of fans that the first topic brought up on TSN’s “Insider Trading” feature on Tuesday night was that the Jets and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff may be looking to be active on the market, but as a buyer as Darren Dreger pointed out:
But most definitely the Jets are in the market for a specific top-four defenceman. Now it could be a rental player. It could be a player with some term. They’re not ruling out anything at this point but it does get complicated when you look at some of the scenarios that hover around the organization.
Dreger goes on to mention that the Dustin Byfuglien situation of course makes things a bit of a mess, and that the injury status of players like Adam Lowry and even more critically Bryan Little also play a role into whether or not the Jets can make such a move.
The Jets have very little room to work with when it comes to the Salary Cap and if Chevy is indeed looking for a top four defenseman to come in now, he’s likely going to have to trade salary out. Also playing a factor in any potential trade made is that the Jets currently have four players under contract with variations of No Movement Clauses: Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Matthieu Perreault and Dmitry Kulikov.
But there are also other teams in the league close to the same situation as the Jets with very little wriggle room under the Salary Cap and only having a few options available to them to get out of it. One such team is the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers are in a crunch to say the least and could use some help. Long term injuries have actually helped bail them out a bit this season (doesn’t that seem familiar?) but a quick look at next season shows that the Flyers could have 15 players under contract with possibly 12 to 13 million available to fill out the roster – a task made even more difficult by the pending RFA statuses of both Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick.
Now if you ask me – and since you clicked on a link to get here and have read up to this point, I believe you have – I think there is a deal that can be worked out to help out both sides.
The Jets need a top four defenseman. A good puck moving blueliner really and one that needs to have a very reasonable contract. On top of all that, it would sure be nice if the Jets didn’t just settle for a short-term rental fix. In fact the type of defenseman that Chevy should be looking for is one that will remain under contract to the Winnipeg Jets beyond this current season.
So with all that in mind, may I suggest Shayne Gostisbehere?
Gostisbehere has long been the subject of trade rumors in Philly over the last couple of seasons and those rumors haven’t gone away. He’s number seven on TSN’s “trade bait” board for the 2020 Deadline and just a couple of days ago, Flyers beat-writer Dave Isaac admitted that if the Flyers are looking for Cap relief, he’d be one of the easier players to move out…
It’s not much of a secret that Shayne Gostisbehere is the easiest contract the Flyers have to move. He’s priced well for a middle-pair defenseman at $4.5 million until 2023. The question is if they’re (Flyers) willing to sell low on him. He hasn’t had a great season but was playing rather well, probably his best of the season, before having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier this month.
Part of what makes Gostisbehere an easy target to move is his lack of a NMC and teams will be enticed by the three years left of his contract with a very reasonable cap hit $4.5 million. His lack of size – 5’11, 180 lbs – does cause other NHL GM’s to hesitate, and he’s had his ups and downs over the last four full seasons as a pro and posted inconsistent numbers.
As Mr. Issac notes, Flyers might not be able to expect much of a return for him in a deal, but beyond that, the Flyers are still in the thick of a playoff race themselves out East, sitting just one point out of the second wild card spot. The Flyers are incredibly thin on defense themselves right now and would probably prefer an NHL’er to take Gostisbehere’s place if moved out of the lineup…
That’s where the Chevy and the Jets can come in.
Thanks to Puckpedia’s brand new myPuckPedia GM mode, I have a trade in mind that help out both teams…
Why this works: The Jets get their much needed top four defenseman and have him for the next three seasons beyond this one. The Jets were going to likely be in the market for a defenseman this summer anyway and this kind of takes care of that need. Depending on what happens with Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets could have a top four group of Byfuglien, Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk and Gostisbehere.
That’s not too shabby.
Meanwhile, for the Flyers Dmitry Kulikov is an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s very unlikely the Jets will bring him back for next season…
(at least, it better be unlikely)
So the Flyers get an able-bodied (at least he’s currently able-bodied at the moment, maybe just ship him off in bubble wrap to be sure he safely gets to Philly) NHL defenseman to put into their lineup and can then bid adieu to this summer with frees up $4.3 million for Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher. The sweetener to this deal is Kristian Vesalainen.
If you feel as though adding Vesalainen to this deal might be giving up too much, you could instead insert someone like Michael Spacek or Skyler McKenzie or even Jansen Harkins. (Although I would maybe as for a mid-round draft pick to come back to me if Harkins is in this deal) The bottom line is, the Jets have some pretty decent depth at forward and could spare a higher level prospect better than most NHL clubs could.
The catch to all of this of course is that Kulikov has one of the aforementioned NMC’s that would have to be waived, or hopefully not include the Flyers. Would Philly be on his six team list of places he wouldn’t want to go to? It’s not like the Jets would be asking him to go to Buffalo for a couple of months…
Do you have a better idea for a trade the Jets could make? Maybe you have a totally different route you’d like to see the Jets go to. Head to PuckPedia.com and you can make your own trades and roster today!