The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away and the rumours are starting to heat up. Here at Jetsnation, we have examined a few aspects of the deadline already. I looked at some off the wall suggestions for players that could help the Jets and we also shut down the talk about trading Laine.
As far as who the Jets want, everyone knows the names. The likes of Stone, Duchene, Hayes, and Brassard are all options of players to bring in.
What hasn’t been discussed as much is what the Jets would be willing to give up when the time comes to make a deal. If they are looking to make a big splash, a considerably good asset will have to get moved the other way. If this is the case then it appears that either Roslovic or Vesalainen would be the building block of the deal. Both provide great value and therefore are the front runners in regards to players getting moved from the organization.
I won't pretend to be some expert on talent, but I'll rank them in order of likelihood to get moved (most to least). Vesalainen, Niku, Roslovic. https://t.co/H0xjalKvqH
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) February 20, 2019
If it’s one or the other, which would you rather see go? There’s definitely a case to be made for both of them, so let’s take a look.
The Case To Keep Roslovic
It seems that the general consensus is that Vesalainen is more valuable than Jack Roslovic. Both were taken near the end of the first round of the NHL draft, and both players have followed a similar path in the sense that they didn’t make the team in their first or second year after getting drafted.
The original idea when Roslovic was drafted was that he would be able to take the reins from Bryan Little as the team’s second line centre. However, those plans haven’t been going as well as everyone hoped. Roslovic got an extended look at the centre position last year but he struggled during that stretch. He seems much more comfortable after moving to the wing and has looked much better with the decreased responsibility.
Even though Roslovic might not have as high of ceiling as Vesalainen, he has a few things going for him. First of all, he’s currently playing solid minutes every single night. He made the jump to the second line after Ehlers got hurt and has shown flashes of brilliance since. He had a scoring outburst at the end of January and was even named the NHL’s First Star of the Week after scoring his first career hat-trick against the Ducks.
Being on the roster and being a fairly regular contributor is the biggest reason why the Jets should keep Roslovic over Vesalainen. If the Jets decide to bring in a pure rental player (a pending UFA), it means they are going all-in to win the cup. It doesn’t make sense to trade away Roslovic if the Jets are truly making a run for the cup as he’s been a solid contributor all season. He certainly provides more value to the club than either Appleton or Lemieux, so keeping Roslovic is the logical decision if the end goal is to succeed in the playoffs.
The other thing Roslovic has going for him is his experience. Roslovic still has a chance to get better over the next season or two, but he has likely settled close to his true talent level. A player like Vesalainen is the opposite as his ability is still largely an unknown. Even though the ceiling is higher for Vesalainen, the floor becomes lower because development is not necessarily linear. Nobody knows how Vesalainen will turn out in a few years. He might be much better than Roslovic, but he also might never make an impact at the NHL level.
Keeping the known positive commodities is crucial because the window to win a Stanley Cup is so small. This makes Roslovic a much safer choice because he already has nearly 100 games of NHL experience and has proven his ability to play at the NHL level.
To recap, there are a few reasons to keep Roslovic over Vesalainen. Roslovic’s a current contributor to the club who will help during this year’s playoff run and he’s a little bit older and more developed which means keeping him comes with less risk.
The Case To Keep Vesalainen
While Roslovic is a solid roster player right now, Vesalainen has the opportunity to be a bigger impact player down the road. Even though Vesalainen cannot help the team this season, keeping him instead of Roslovic has plenty of benefits in the future.
For one, his trajectory is very strong and it looks like he could catch up to Roslovic in terms of development. Vesalainen had 8 points in 8 games with the Moose before heading overseas to the KHL. He currently has 17 points in 30 games as a 19 year old playing in what’s regarded as the second best league in the world. That’s a pretty strong season for the young Finn. To top that off, he’s also second in KHL scoring among players under the age of 20. The only player above him has four more points but has played in 19 more games. To say that Vesalainen is the best teenager in the KHL wouldn’t be a stretch by any means.
This strong development should lead to him making the roster next season where he could very well pass Roslovic on the depth chart.
I seriously think Vesalainen and Niku will prove to be more valuable to the Jets than Roslovic
— Jordan Mancini (@JordanMancini17) February 20, 2019
It appears that Vesalainen has a really good opportunity to actually be a better player than Roslovic, but what else does he have going for him? A really intriguing part of Vesalainen is his contract situation. With the impending expansion draft coming up in the summer of 2021, Vesalainen would actually be exempt from being selected. This is a major benefit of keeping Vesalainen around over Roslovic.
The other issue with keeping Roslovic instead of Vesalainen is that if the Jets trade Vesalainen now, they could also lose Roslovic in expansion. That means both players would be gone in the span of three years. There’s no way that could happen if the Jets cut ties with Roslovic now and decide to keep Vesalainen instead.
Vesalainen will also provide cap relief in the coming years as he will be on his ELC for three more seasons. Roslovic is going to cost plenty more when he comes for an extension and the Jets are already going to have a tough time with their cap space. Any savings they can get will be a major benefit and Vesalainen takes the edge in that category as well.
So, even though Roslovic is currently on the roster and gives the Jets the better chance to win this season, Vesalainen likely will give the Jets a better shot to win a cup down the road while also providing some much needed cap and expansion relief.
While most fans will have their own opinion on this matter, I think the Jets would be better off trading Roslovic and keeping Vesalainen. Roslovic helps in the moment, but Vesalainen’s impact down the road will likely be superior.