It appears we won’t be seeing Jake Muzzin in a Jets sweater come playoff time. With a huge splash the Maple Leafs dealt their first round pick and two prospects to the Kings in exchange for Muzzin. While normally we wouldn’t care about other team’s deals, this one is different.
Muzzin had been the most popular choice by far among Jets fans to bolster the roster and provide some help on the blueline for the playoffs. One of the benefits of trading for Muzzin is that he has one more year under contract at a reasonable cap hit. This would have been perfect for Winnipeg because his $4 million salary would have been manageable for next season, especially considering his strong play.
Now that Muzzin is off the table, let’s look at the deal and see if the Jets would have been able to offer a comparable package. We previously ran a number of scenarios to potentially land Muzzin in our recent Trade-A-Palooza series.
At first glance, it appears that the Leafs gave up a lot. Art was ready to do the deal for a first round pick and Logan Stanley.
This hits very close to home..
(But for real, the Jets should go get Muzzin and I’d do it for a 1st round pick and a defensive prospect. Even Stanley if it was needed) https://t.co/0iQbSDNYnY
— GameTimeArt (@GameTimeArt) January 25, 2019
Others would have done the deal for a first round pick and anyone not named Vesalainen.
Pretty sure there’s some teams who will try to beat the jets for muzzin or at least that one team who’ll try to mess it up like Vegas did to brassard…….I can see teams overpaying for muzzin this deadline
— 🔥MetalDude🔥 (@MetalDude09) January 24, 2019
These deals were wishful thinking as the Leafs had to give up a first round pick, a solid forward prospect currently in the AHL and the rights to their second round pick from last summer’s draft. Now that we know the price that was actually paid, could the Jets have offered a similar package for Muzzin?
It was suggested that the Jets comparables would have looked something like this.
That's a big pay. It's basically a 1st, Appleton and Samberg.
— not affiliated 🐺 (@Tony_MBHKY) January 29, 2019
A Winnipeg first rounder will be very comparable to a Toronto first rounder, so that’s basically a wash. Appleton is slightly older than Grundstrom, but did score at a higher rate in the AHL. Grundstrom was the higher pick but Appleton has continued to develop and has also played a number of NHL games this season. Appleton might have slightly more value with his strong trajectory since being drafted, but Grundstrom’s value would be quite similar.
The last piece, Durzi for the Leafs, might not have a perfect Jets comparison. Some were likening him to Logan Stanley while others suggested Dylan Samberg. Samberg is likely the closer comparison given they were picked near similar points in the draft and are close to the same age.
So, as it stands, the Jets would have needed to deal their first round pick, Appleton, and Samberg if they wanted any chance of getting Muzzin.
Judging by Twitter, it appears that most Leafs fans are happy with the deal and don’t believe they overpaid. I believe that the Jets comparables are more than what many people expected to give up to acquire Muzzin, but sometimes that’s the price to pay to get the player you want.
We will be looking at other options for Winnipeg down the road, but it appears that the LHD pool is getting very thin. Kronwall and Bouwmeester have suddenly emerged near the top of the list, but neither player would really help the Jets as both are declining with age. Alex Edler has also been mentioned, but he’s also not an upgrade over what the Jets currently have.
It’s now too late as the Jets missed out on Muzzin. It was a fairly steep price that was paid, but he was clearly the best LHD available. What we will probably never know is if Cheveldayoff had talks with the Kings or even put in an offer. There’s a possibility he tried and was rejected or that Toronto just offered more. Whatever the case may be, the most popular trade target in Winnipeg is off the board.