Jets Nation Air Mail: 1990, Trains, and Asset Management

JNAirMail

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so in that vein we’d like to borrow a page from the playbook of other Nation Network sites and introduce our very own weekly mailbag feature which we have craftily re-named Jets Nation Air Mail because nothing says “we write about a team named after aviation equipment” like associating regular features with aviation themes!

If you have a burning question about the Jets, hockey in general or our little corner of the Nation you can forward them to @NHLJetsNation or @GameTimeArt with the hashtag #JNAirMail on the Twitter. You can also send them to us on our Facebook page.

With that, lets get to the light load of questions…

1990? Sure, it was the last time the Edmonton Oilers did anything significant worth noting. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything they’ve done recently that would indicate that they return to a respectable level of hockey where a playoff spot is a possibility for them.

Besides, that team the Oilers beat back in 1990 that called Winnipeg home? That’s a different franchise than what the current one is.

Then it may look something like this:

I could watch this on an endless loop from here until the end of my time on earth and would die happy.

I know this was asked in jest, but we’ll at least treat one question somewhat seriously because GM Kevin Chevledayoff does get some grief for this once in a while.

I am going to assume the phrase “asset management” means the practice of letting players (the heretofore mentioned “assets”) walk away via free agency from the Jets franchise without getting anything in return be it another player or draft picks.

All NHL teams deal with these issues every year. Teams don’t move unrestricted free agents at the trade deadline and end up leaving them free to sign with whomever they want. Restricted free agents aren’t qualified and thus become UFAs as well.  In both cases it can feel like the team misses an opportunity to trade an asset you assume the team will be unable to retain for an asset that you will have beyond July 1st.

The instant answer I have for this question is that I don’t feel like the Jets are any better or worse than most other NHL teams.

As an example I looked at the Jets on July 1 when 15 players became unrestricted free agents with three of those players having had RFA status but not given a qualifying offer. Adam Pardy, Matt Halischuk and Patrice Cormier ended up re-signing with the Jets within a day or two of gaining their UFA status.

I then picked another random NHL team via a very scientific method.

Ok fine, I closed my eyes and pointed at printout of NHL logos. Hello Nashville Predators!

The Predators saw 13 players become free agents on July 1 with two of those players having been RFAs who were not tendered an offer. The Preds only ended up re-signing Mike Ribeiro from that list which is a big deal of course as he led the team in assists the previous season and at this point looks like their number one center going into 2015-16.

Why didn’t the Predators trade away Ribeiro at the deadline and ensure they would have a return? Isn’t there a risk to let him go into unrestricted free agency where 29 other teams could feasibly throw a bunch of money at a potential number one center?

There are many factors that would explain what went into the situation, but the short easy answer is: The Predators were about to make a run at the playoffs and you don’t trade a player like him away leading into it, and thus GM David Poile and the Predators gambled that even after July 1 they would still be able bring him back.

Not unlike Kevin Cheveldayoff and Michael Frolik. The Jets felt that trading Frolik at the deadline with a playoff spot on the line was counter productive and likely hoped they could get a deal done before or even after July 1st.

We could also go into why the Jets didn’t sign him to a longer term deal a year ago when they had more control, but we’ll just stick to the hows and whys of not dealing players before they ultimately leave a team.

Every team goes through this cycle every summer. Players brought in via trade who are set to be UFAs in the summer – think players like Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak – are done so with the idea that they can help with a playoff run, not to mention giving said team a look at how they fit in with their roster and allowing that team to determine if they are interested in bringing that player back come fall.

Despite his wishes to remain in Winnipeg, Jets management and coaches must have felt a player like Stempniak was not worthy enough to bring back which is a decision that can be made easier by giving up a draft pick or prospect for a “rental.”

We could from there debate the merits of said decision of letting a player like Stempniak get away while re-signing Matt Halischuk, but that is a topic for a different time.