While the NHL season may have just ended, it’s time to turn the page and look ahead to the upcoming 2016-2017 season. With July 1st fast approaching and the draft even sooner on the 24th, the NHL offseason is in full swing. Now, will the Jets be making much noise in this years offseason? What they decide to do with their two promising restricted free agents in Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba will certainly generate some noise, but will the Jets be active participants in the free agent bidding wars.
Last season, the Jets took lots of heat for filling out empty roster spots with young prospects as opposed to re-signing players such as Lee Stempniak or finding additions via free agency or the trade market to build off their first round playoff berth the previous year. Is this year much different? Should the Jets not be trusting there youth?
It’s quite the opposite and if anything, this is the year of all years to fill out the roster with the teams prospects. This years training camp looks to be the most competitive that the Jets have ever had. The Jets depth will thicken with the likely draft pick of Patrik Laine and with prospects like Joel Armia, Marko Dano, Nic Petan and potentially even Kyle Connor knocking on the door for NHL spots. There will be lots of young players to choose from to fill out their roster. The team looks pretty set up front and likely won’t make many significant attempts to sign the big free agents ( and it’s not like they’d have much interest in coming to Winnipeg anyways).
It’s no secret the Jets left sided defence is poor at best. The team has three solid defenders on the right side in Byfuglien Myers and Trouba but a left side that doesn’t have much to show for it. Could free agency be the place they could upgrade their left side?
While there are intriguing left shot D-men such as the likes of Keith Yandle and Brian Campell, the two will demand big dollar that a) the Jets may not be able to compete with other teams in a bidding war and b) the Jets may not be able to afford to give up.
Now looking at the second tier of this years left shot defenseman, it’s not pretty.
Nikita Nikitin, Dan Hamhuis, Kyle Quincey and Kris Russell round out a group of D that wouldn’t be worthy investments of the Jets money and can’t fill the void of a minute munching top left handed defenseamn that they so desperately need. Unrestricted free agent Alex Goligoski would’ve been a nice addition to the Jets. Goligoski seems like a player that could fit in to the Jets lineup quite nicely, but his negotiating rights were traded from Dallas to Arizona and if he doesn’t strike a deal there he wont be hard pressed to find the kind of money he wants elsewhere.
It’ll be hard for the Jets to get the kind of defensmean they need on the free agency market.
The best way for the Jets to upgrade the left side will be to sniff around on the trade market. The Jets have lots of assets to play ball with such as the 22nd overall pick and a plethora of prospects that they could give up if it meant acquiring a LHD.
Don’t glue yourself to your couch to watch TSN Free Agent Frenzy in hopes of seeing much Jets action, cause it’ll be unlikely you see anything too exciting. But don’t be too surprised if the Jets pull the trigger on a deal at the draft or in the offseason.
Buckle up folks,
The offseason is here
Will the Jets be active when free agency begins? Let us know on twitter @NHLJetsNation.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter: @NHLStoller.