Could the Jets trade Stafford This Summer?

Drew Stafford has always been efficient in his role: a top 9 player that has consistently score 15-20 goals and play at any spot in the lineup where he was needed.

Nabbing Stafford in the Evander Kane blockbuster deal didn’t seem like a big acquisition, but Stafford has helped make the trade become an obvious win for the Jets. While all has been well during his tenure with the Jets, the possibility of trading him could be contemplated by the Jets front office before the season begins. 

Stafford turns 31 in October and is in the final year of his contract with the Jets. The real question Winnipeg will have to ponder is if it’s worth it to sign him for another year or two and clog up a spot that could be used for a top prospect down the road. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.41.46 PM

Pros to trading Stafford

By trading Stafford, the Jets would be able to have another open spot in the top 9 that’d be up for grabs. That could be be a huge plus for Winnipeg and give them a chance to inject more youth in to their lineup and become faster and quicker more throughout the lineup. 

If the Jets decide they don’t see Drew Stafford in the teams future plans, they’d likely let him walk at free agency. Instead of letting Stafford walk for free, the Jets could dangle him on the trade market and seek a mid round pick. While a second or third round pick may not be the most appealing thing to get in return, wouldn’t it be better than letting him walk and having the Jets be empty handed? There could be quite the market for Stafford, he could be a perfect rental for a team trying to load up on mid level scorers on the quest for the cup.

Now as you can see, the pros to trading Stafford aren’t that great and I think there are too many cons to trading him to even consider pull the trigger on a deal.

The many cons to trading Stafford

On the other side of the coin, you have to look at moving Stafford as de ja vu for the Jets. The move would likely hand a top 9 spot to a rookie and assume a prospect is ready for that spot. That sort of scenario occurred last season when the Jets tried to move in a younger direction and leave spots open for prospects and not re-sign forwards Jiri Tlusty, Lee Stempniak and Michael Frolik. The move backfired and the Jets missed the postseason and took a step back after reaching the playoffs the year prior.

You can’t have a team entirely comprised of young players. You need veterans to support players like Patrick Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, not more young guys that are trying to find their way in the league as well. Stafford is a good player to have for his value and his role and the same goes for newly signed forward Mathieu Perreault. 

With the way the Jets roster is shaping up to be, it looks like the team will have a solid chance to clinch a postseason berth. If the Jets are serious about starting to build in the present day ( as they should be ) trading Stafford would put them a step back and the mid level pick they’d acquire might not even turn out and if it does it likely wont be for another couple years. 

Yes, the Jets very well could lose Stafford for nothing next season, and that’s not the end of the world. When the Jets kept pending UFA Michael Frolik past the trade deadline two seasons ago, many saw it as a risky move if the Frolik were to walk in the summer and leave Winnipeg empty handed. But by keeping Frolik it helped the Jets reach the playoffs and that playoff experience is much better than acquiring a few assets. 

The Jets don’t want to shoot themselves in the foot this year, expectations are high in Winnipeg and with the roster they have assembled they could reach expectations. Trading Stafford would make the Jets worse at this point and would make them a little too young. 

Verdict

Don’t pull the trigger on a deal now or at the deadline that involves Drew Stafford. The Jets likely will be quite young next season as it is and they don’t need to force themselves to become even younger. Stafford could help the Jets reach the playoffs next season and as the Jets turn the page to a new regime filled with young talent, they still need veterans to balance out the young talent.  

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    If Ehlers/Scheifele/Wheeler stay together then you’re definitely looking at:

    Laine/Little/Stafford as the 2nd line

    Maybe Stafford can return to his 2010-11 form

  • jetsfanmike

    Possession stars like Perreault and Little help to shelter young forwards.

    Frolik if he was still a Jet would also have been very useful in that respect.

    Stafford on the other hand is not a driver of possession. If the other players on the line do the heavy lifting in turns of getting the puck, advancing it to the offensive zone and keeping possession, Stafford can pot a few goals as a result.

    However, he won’t be “sheltering” young players that play with him and in fact he may make actually it harder for the young players that play with him due to the type of game that he plays.

    Therefore, IMO Stafford is absolutely the forward you try hard to move this summer as I’d rather have Connor’s speed in that spot instead since I expect both players won’t be drivers of possession but rather the player playing the role of “scorer” on his line instead.

    • FishWhiskey

      I liked Stafford’s play in his “part” season after the trade. But once he signed a fat contract he showed his true colours. He is a lazy “cherry picker” who drags his line mates down. This is not the kind of veteran I would let anywhere near the young guys.

      It makes my guts burn to think they are still paying Stafford more money than Matty Perreault. Stafford should be shown the door at the earliest opportunity.

      • #12MorrisLukowich

        Stafford will not play 3rd line minutes with his contract.

        He will be, God Forbid, 2nd line at minimum…not enough vet RW’s now

        The only player I see capable of taking Stafford’s role as #2 RW is Laine….if Maurice moves him to RW…

        Otherwise it’s Laine/Little/Stafford as #2 line…

        • FishWhiskey

          To quote the Lukowich “Stafford will not play 3rd line minutes with his contract.”

          My question is “Why not?”

          Until he starts playing a spirited 200 foot game I would keep moving him down the line up until he was giving Peluso a run for his money on Press Box duty.

          He is a lazy cherry picking floater and he is the textbook example of the kind of player who you do not want setting an example for young players.

          He showed his full capacity in the first months after the trade but went into full floater mode as soon as he signed a new contract. And why not? The Jets are one of those rare “sucker” organizations that give their undying loyalty and biggest rewards to bums. Need I mention Stuart, Burmistrov, Thorburn and Pavelec?

          I have had both active and retired NHL people across the country ridicule the Jets for this cultural peculiarity and say that it is a cancer that will keep the team from ever having major success.

          Nothing good ever comes from accepting or rewarding bad or indifferent performance. It is a toxic message to the guys that really want to win.

          Just because we paid a lot of money for a sh*t sandwich does not mean we have to eat it or go back for second helpings.

          • #12MorrisLukowich

            Ah Fish…still have a gift with words…

            While i agree: Stuart, Burmistrov, Thorburn, Pavelec and you can throw in Setugochi, Jokinen, Wright and Noel as bad contracts as well…

            The GOOD are Buff (long term), Scheifele (long term), Perrault (long term) the trade that brought in Myers (& Lemieux & Armia), Paul Maurice, the drafting of Scheifele, Trouba, Hellebuyck and Laine and the boatload of young prospects talented & eager to play (not including the Moose) makes this team a full solar system away from where it was when it 1st arrived.

            So…I’d hardly rate True North as an overpaying “sucker” organization ala the Leafs…

            There is no advantage to playing in Winterpeg (marketing or otherwise)
            Gotta be in the bucks…it’s certainly not the night life..

            Stafford can play…when he wants to…the same can’t be said of your diarrhea 4

          • FishWhiskey

            The Diarrhea 4……. Bwahahahaha!

            I agree, Stafford can play, I just think he needs a cold pine enema to remind him that corner work and defensive assignments aren’t optional. Ladd got a taste of the third line and Lowry ate Moose last year. It did both of them a world of good.

            I also agree that the Jets are moving in the right direction on many fronts but until they purge the organization of “The Craptastic Four” they are still going to be snickered at behind their backs and lose far more games than they need too.

            Even the Leafs are cleaning house. The Jets better keep up. I would hope that managements goal is to be the best run organization in the league and not just be satisfied that there is someone worse.

            As far as advantages to playing in Winnipeg. The one thing the Jets can “control” that will make Winnipeg a “desired” destination is to create a “winning culture”.

            Ridding the team of “The Four Horsemen of the Crapocalypse” would send a clear message that the Jets are ready to be winners.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    I still believe Maurice will eventually (if not immediately) move Laine into #1 LW spot

    So…Laine/Scheifele/Wheeler

    which means: Ehlers/Little/Stafford (or maybe Connor to RW) so..

    Ehlers/Little/Connor

    Maurice must feel like he’s re-inventing the wheel here…

    • jetsfanmike

      For what it’s worth, I’ve heard that Ehlers typically prefers playing RW and Connor played LW in college and C before that, but I understand it they had him playing RW in development camp.

  • FishWhiskey

    He’s under contract for this upcoming season and then he’s a UFA. Just keep him around for veteran depth and then trade him at the deadline for a 2nd or 3rd rounder. This isn’t rocket science.