On Monday the Jets traded for Paul Stastny and Joe Morrow. On Tuesday, the team as well as media and fans got their first look at the players in game action and for the ost part liked what they saw.
Now that we’ve had a couple of days and a game under our belts, let’s take a the two deals and just how it affects the Jets going forward.
F – Paul Stastny
To St. Louis:
F – Erik Foley (Rights to)
2018 First round pick
2020 Fourth round pick
As Jets fans have already seen after one game, Paul Stastny is a fantastic play-maker, sees the ice incredibly well and is a bit of a face-off specialist. We got a bit of a preview on just how the Jets plan to use him on the top power play unit with him working below the goal line and around the net to give Winnipeg threats from all angles when they have the man advantage.
You can either take away the threat of a Byfuglien shot from the blueline, or deal with Laine and Wheeler on the wings, of try to shut down Scheifele and Stastny in front of and around the net. The Jets power play was very much a “pick your poison” situation before, that threat has only increased tenfold.
Where we didn’t see how Stastny helps this team yet is on the penalty kill which he is also adept at doing. If nothing else, his addition to the short handed unit means there will be less Matt Hendricks on it, and with all due respect to Matt and the steady job he’s done on it this season, Paul Stastny is an upgrade.
Was it an overpay for a player that you’ll at most get about 20 regular season games plus playoffs? Perhaps, but it’s an overpay that the Jets can afford thanks to their draft and develop mandate the last five years. Erik Foley is a fine prospect, but an un-signed one at that and the Jets had plenty of strong prospects ahead of him on the depth chart.
Truth be told, I am personally a bit surprised the Blues didn’t demand a prospect already playing pro hockey such as a Mason Appleton or Michael Spacek. Maybe they did and Kevin Cheveldayoff talked them down to an unsigned prospect like Foley. Maybe that’s why it took an extra draft pick.
The first round pick is a bit of a steep price, but as Sami Niku has proven, the Jets scouting staff doesn’t need first rounders to find their biggest gems. It’s also hilarious that it’s “lottery protected” in that IF the Jets miss the playoffs and IF the Jets end up winning the subsequent draft lottery and gain picks one, two or three, the pick becomes a 2019 pick. For that to happen would require an collapse of epic proportions the likes of which the sporting world has never seen, but there is still a shred of a chance that it could happen… So Chevy – ever the type to keep one eye on the future – protects his ass(ets) and makes sure the plan is foolproof.
D – Joe Morrow
2018 Fourth round pick
Joe Morrow at one time was a prized prospect for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was important enough to be included in a trade to Dallas for then Stars captain Brenden Morrow and then still important and highly thought of enough to be a key part of a trade to the Boston Bruins for Tyler Seguin.
Morrow didn’t get a whole lot of playing time in Boston, splitting his time with the AHL Bruins and the main club as he only appeared in 55 games total over three seasons from 2014-15 to the 2016-17 season. In that final season with the Bruins however, he did play in five playoff games for the club.
He signed with the Habs this past summer and made the team after a strong training camp and had a solid start to the season which along with the Canadiens themselves quickly faded soon after, and Morrow started seeing more press box duty.
In essence the Jets got him for two reasons: To be a warm body in the press box that allows the club to send Tucker Poolman back to play for the AHL Moose, and to have a player with some playoff experience that will be ok to sit in the press box and willing to wait for a possible chance without rocking the boat at all over being sat repeated nights.
When healthy, the Jets defense is set. Trouba and Morrissey, Byfuglien and Enstrom then Kulikov and Myers. Ben Chiarot and Joe Morrow are not going to ever be played ahead of them and it’s very likely that neither of those players also have grand delusions that they should.
Could the Jets have gotten a better defenseman at the deadline? Probably. Could they have gotten one with playoff experience but still knows that his role is to sit in the press box and stay sharp in case of injury? And if they could, would they have found one as cheap as the 650 thousand owed to Morrow as opposed to paying 925 grand to Poolman? The club still needs to be mindful of the space needed to pay out bonuses owed at the end of the season that will count towards the cap.
It’s interesting to note that both of these players were Kevin Cheveldayoff targets in the past. Chevy had made pitches to a free agent Stastny back in 2014 and was in on signing Morrow this past summer. The reasons for Winnipeg being passed over in both cases were more than fair as Stastny picked his hometown St. Louis over Winnipeg, and Morrow was familiar with Habs coach Claude Julien who had coached him in Boston.
But the fact is Cheveldayoff had already done his homework on both these players beyond just the last week or so leading up the deadline, that familiarity perhaps made it even more easy to pull the trigger on both deals.
It’s a fair chance that the Jets will bid both players good-bye this summer. Stastny at the age of 32 will likely look for one more good contract which the Jets – unless they move other high contracts and get savings on crazy deals with Trouba and Laine among others – will not be able to afford.
They could retain Morrow as he’s an RFA, but a lot of that will depend on this audition with the Jets. Even if he isn’t on the ice and playing, coaches will be keeping an eye on his practice habits and he could be an option to keep this summer depending on other personnel moves.