Winnipeg Jets Free Agency: Part One - Needs

Garret Hohl
July 01 2015 05:30AM

The Winnipeg Jets are entering 2015's free agency and they have some holes to fill.

While free agency is no longer a place you can build a team, it is still a location where smart General Managers can efficiently supplement their core, pushing the team to the next level.

The Jets currently have about 54 million assigned for 2015, and Mark Chipman estimates the Jets to be about a third-quartile team in spending. After making the playoffs last season for the first time since the franchise's move to Canada, the Jets will be looking to contend for a second time.

Let's take a look at what the Jets needs are that may be filled by free agency.

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Winnipeg Jets Organizational Depth Chart

Garret Hohl
June 30 2015 04:28PM

There are a lot of fantastic cap management --like NHL Numbers-- and prospect depth --like Hockey's Future-- websites out there.

Unfortunately there is no where that really combines both of these in one easy location, so I tend to keep one for myself.

Here is an updated look of the Winnipeg Jets' organizational depth, prior to entering the "frenzy" of 2015's free agency.

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Report: Jets extend Drew Stafford with 2-year, $8.7 million contract

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 01:25PM

Photo Credit: J. Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports

It looks as if the Winnipeg Jets will retain Drew Stafford, the NHL-level piece that they received as part of the return in the Evander Kane trade, after all. ESPN's Craig Custance is reporting that the deal is done and that it's a two-year pact. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the deal will pay Stafford $8.7 million in total, so it will carry a $4.35 million annual average value.

The news isn't a big surprise, as the Jets were reportedly working hard to retain the American-born middle-six winger prior to the opening of the market on Wednesday. Stafford, 29, is a reliable secondary scoring forward and managed nine goals and 19 points in 26 games with the Jets last season.

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Top-10 UFA Countdown: #1 Justin Williams

Kent Wilson
June 30 2015 01:00PM

It's an indication of the strength of this particular UFA crop that Justin Williams comes in number 1 on our list. That's not to take anything away from the 33 year old, who has been a high-end winger for years. But his age and the fact that he's only scored in the 40-point range the last two seasons goes to show there isn't a lot of franchise changing players available to sign this summer. 

Despite those concerns, Williams remains a very useful player, in part because his value doesn't merely come from his offense. As one of the few wingers who has proven he can push possession over the years, Williams is a guy who can play up and down the line-up and provide quality minutes to whoever inks him.

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Why Mike Richards makes sense for the Jets, but like, as a Jim Slater upgrade

Garret Hohl
June 29 2015 12:26PM

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings are buying out Mike Richards, which means he's now available to anyone as an unrestricted free agent.

Almost exactly a year ago, when there was discussion on the Kings using their compliance buyout on Richards, there were many discussing whether or not the Winnipeg Jets should sign Richards if he shook loose . He is from Kenora, On. after all and has both friends and family in Winnipeg. At the right price, Richards may be a plausible addition.

I responded with a resounding no, when there were others saying Richards would likely cost about 4 million in AAV.

Has anything changed? Read on past the jump.

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