Welcome to the first Jets Nation round table where some of the writers got together over some e-beverages and talked about a few topics concerning the Winnipeg Jets and the Central Division.
Check out what Art, Cammers and Garret had to say below!
How does the re-signing of Byfuglien affect the Jets moving forward?
Cammers: I think keeping Byfuglien is huge for the Jets. Not only does he produce, but he stabilizes the blue line. Without Byfuglien, the Jets will have to use Mark Stuart, when healthy, more in the top four.
Garret: Yay!! Byfuglien is, IMO, an elite defender. He may (and likely won’t) be one for his whole contract, but he should be good enough to compete when the Jets are looking to push. Unlike Ladd, I don’t think the Jets really had potential replacement with Buff.
Art: I likely means someone like Enstrom or Trouba will be moved because I don’t see the Jets next season carrying three defencemen who are or will make north of five million per year. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’d rather lean towards Enstrom being moved than the younger Trouba.
Are the Jets better off trading Ladd?
Cammers: I think so. At this point in the season, the Jets are not going to be in the playoffs and have a core that has not been able to get the job done. Now, some of this is on Cheveldayoff’s shoulders for not providing a better supporting cast. The trend of the NHL is to get younger and faster. The assets from a trade involving Ladd should allow the Jets to be a part of this trend.
Garret: Yes, I think so, but not in a vacuum. Ladd is a good player, and his loss will be felt. The team will be worse and hard pressed to replace his impact. However, the additional context of the Jets competitive window, the aging of their older core, and contract statuses make it difficult to keep him.
Art: Yes. Maybe I would feel different if he’s had a better season than he has, but I think this season is an indication that he is now on the downward slope of his career. Get something of value in return now because after March I think that value will never be higher.
What other assets do you see the Jets moving?
Cammers: Maybe Trouba, but just for a defenceman with a more favourable cap hit. Not that I think Trouba should be traded. Guys like Adam Lowry or Alex Burmistrov may be attractive to a team looking for bottom six depth, but I can’t see the Jets moving them.
Garret: I can see Trouba, although I hope not. There were whispers of Trouba for Hamonic trade, but it seems like the two teams were not able to agree about the difference in value between the two. There’s not really much else there. I wish Trouba and Thorburn, but I’m unsure of what their value really is.
Art: I’d like to sit here and rattle off a handful of names that I think could go (Thorburn, Enstrom, Peluso would be my picks) but I don’t have any faith right now based on the first five years that Chevy will be proactive and move anything more than moving Ladd and he still doesn’t seem sure if he’ll even do as of press time. The lack of roster turnover may be the most frustrating thing about this team right now.
Who do you see as buyers in the Central Division at the trade deadline?
Cammers: All of the playoff teams, but I think St. Louis may be the most active. They have not been able to make a deep playoff run. The current Blues team seems to have a window closing on them, even though they are not the oldest team. It just seems like there is a staleness to the team and if the post-season does not go for the team, will result in a shakeup. If they add, it will be a forward or two.
Garret: Chicago may, but will be hard to do so given the cap. Nashville was active last year, and is falling fast. They also have only so much time with their aging core. Repeat Nashville for Minnesota. I hope Colorado buys, because I think of them as a paper tiger.
Art: The Blues. This may be their chance to finally make a playoff run but they could use a little help in terms of depth. They don’t need to do anything crazy, just add to their bottom six. The Hawks are up against the cap and the Stars don’t need a whole lot of tinkering. Yeah, I say Blues.
What Central team do you see as a sleeper playoff team?
Cammers: The Blues, again. They have plenty of star power, but have not been able to put it all together in the post-season. The Blues have the likes of Tarasenko, Schwartz, Backes, Steen, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, to name a few. Those are all players other teams would love to have. There’s no reason for the Blues not to be able to go deep.
Garret: St. Louis. Blues are like the old Sharks… really, really good but because they haven’t won no one expects them to. Maybe they won’t, just like the Sharks never did, but they have the ability to.
Art: Can’t exactly say the Stars or Hawks are ‘sleeper’ teams can we? I’m going to go out on a limb and say if Nashville gets in they’d be my dark horse pick. Of course that is also dependent on the idea that Rinne remembers how to be a great goalie again, but if he gets hot I think they have a legit chance to make a long run out of the division.
That’s it for now! Next Thursday is the last Thursday before the trade deadline, so I’m sure we will see a lot of discussion around the Jets, Central Division and the NHL!