Jets 2015 Trade Deadline: Shopping List Defenders

The Winnipeg Jets have already made quite a few moves. Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers were brought in as part of the package deal in return for Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian. The Jets also purchased Jiri Tlusty as a rental from the Carolina Hurricanes for a third and a conditional fifth or sixth round pick.

This does not mean Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job is done. As teams try to shuffle their roster and cap to fit new pieces, the Jets may be able to pry a few lower depth pieces in upgrading their own.

Let’s take a look at a few defenders who should be on the Jets 2015 trade deadline shopping list.

What we got

If and once the Jets become healthy, the team’s top six defenders setup will look something like the following (currently injured in italics):

Tobias Enstrom – Tyler Myers

Ben Chiarot – Dustin Byfuglien

Mark Stuart – Jacob Trouba

This leaves Adam Pardy, Jay Harrison, and Paul Postma sitting in the pressbox.

The Jets issue in depth is the gapping divide in talent on their left side. Stuart, Pardy, and Harrison have all performed at different levels of 3rd pairing defenders or depth defenders. Paul Postma is likely the Jets 5th best defender but is a right hand shot and does not kill penalties.

Chiarot has developed enough chemistry that he does not anchor Dustin Byfuglien. Unfortunately though he is out with an injury, the Jets are stuck with having one of Stuart, Pardy or Harrison playing far above their skill set. Like with the forwards, the Jets are not looking for a game changer on defense, but rather an affordable, left-shot stopgap that lends to some extra depth if needed.

Here are defenders who may possibly be undervalued and had for cheap, with some 2013-15 HERO charts courtesy of Own the Puck.

Patrick Wiercioch

Wier

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

Remember what people used to say about Nick Leddy, and the fancystats folks were saying he is really good… Then he was given a chance for the New York Islanders, and since has been one of the best defenders in the NHL. Patrick Wiercioch is the exact same thing, but hasn’t been given a chance yet. He’s 6’5″, 200 lbs, has elite numbers, and is never played. Wiercioch has even openly admitted to being okay if he is moved this deadline, citing that he wants to play. The 24 year-old is signed for one more season at 2.2 and then becomes a RFA. A trade for Wiercioch is a trade not just for the now, but for the future. A left side of Wiercioch, Enstrom, and Morrissey (or even Stuart or Chiarot) supporting a right side of Myers, Byfuglien and Trouba could arguably be the best defensive core in the NHL. That’s a big deal.

Luke Schenn

Schenn

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

Luke Schenn is not an analytical darling. He is not really underrated either. These factors lead Schenn to likely be one of the more expensive options and less favourable, but he is an option nonetheless. The 25 year-old former first round pick plays a similar game to Mark Stuart and Jay Harrison, but he does it more effectively. I wouldn’t put Schenn high up on the list, but if desperate to choose, I’d take him over the Jets bottom-fodder on the left side. Teammate Braydon Coburn is also a strong option, but again not a cheap one.

David Schlemko

Schlemko

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

David Schlemko is not the greatest defensemen in the world, but he is still a far better option than many of the Jets current depth defenders. Yet he is undervalued. Schlemko has cleared waivers once this season, and than was claimed another time. The 27 year-old, soon-to-be UFA is a long shot due to play for division rival Dallas Stars, but would be a great short term addition on the Jets.

Jordan Leopold

Screen shot 2015-02-27 at 12.08.14 AM

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

Jordan Leopold is another decent option for the left side. While he isn’t strong overall like Wiercioch, Leopold is one of the better shot suppressors. This fits well with the Jets, as Tobias Enstrom is the only strong shot suppressor on the Jets. The right side of the Jets predominately consist of players who out chance their opponents by creating. The NHL veteran also has some playoff experience, which may be valuable for the Jets in an “intangible” way.

Paul Postma

Postma

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

Yes. I know he’s not a left-shooting defensemen. But when when it comes to all the other categories for finding underrated, underused, and under-appreciated defensemen, Paul Postma keeps on coming near the top of the list. While playing on the offside is not optimal, the Jets are likely a stronger team with one of Myers, Byfuglien, Trouba, or Postma on their offside than Jay Harrison on the six-man roster.

Compared to what?

Numbers and results are only as meaningful as the context provided for them. To help give context to these players, here are the HERO charts for Jay Harrison and Mark Stuart:

Harrison

Stuart

(Courtesy: Own The Puck)

More Jets 2015 Trade Deadline:

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    I always felt like Wiercoch was underrated, but I never realized he was putting up those kind of numbers. He looks like a fantastic trade target:

    – $2.2MM cap hit
    – RFA status
    – Plays the left side

    And realistically, the Jets don’t need him to be a top-pairing defenseman; they’ve got one of those already. They just need him to supplant the scrap heap that currently populates the left side of the defense after you get past Tobias Enstrom and (currently-injured) Ben Chiarot.