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3 UFA defenders the Winnipeg Jets could look to sign in the off-season

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Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Here we are, Jets fans, the day after the season ending media availabilities. You could say that today is the unofficial beginning to the Winnipeg Jets off-season. There has already been lots of discussion online about what the Jets might want to do with pending UFAs / RFAs on their roster.
Today, as I begin to shift to mostly off-season content, I decided that it would be a good idea to look at 3 UFA defenders that the Winnipeg Jets just might want to consider signing during the off-season during free agency. Each of these players are quite different in how they play, and a lot of the considerations behind looking at these 3 players in specific depend on what happens with players currently on the Jets defence.
The 2 main defenders that are UFAs this off-season on the Winnipeg Jets are Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo. You can check out Evan’s article from today that showcases why the Jets should re-sign both of them. There are a few more question marks when it comes to the Jets defence, such as what they might do with newly acquired Collin Miller, another UFA who was acquired as a depth piece. Finally, Logan Stanley is the lone RFA defender on the roster, who may or may not have a future with the Jets depending on what other moves are made.
Here’s 3 defenders that are unrestricted free agents this summer that the Winnipeg Jets should take a look at if they will be looking for some new faces on the team for next season.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Current Team: Detroit Red Wings
1st on my list (in no particular order) is Shayne Gostisbehere from the Detroit Red Wings. Gostisbehere is a left handed defence that has played both on the left and right side in his career. Aside from Josh Morrissey, the Jets don’t really have another defender that can put up points. That’s the main attraction with Gostisbehere, who put up 10 goals and 46 assists for 56 points this season with the Red Wings.
Gostisbehere has had some mixed results in terms of points throughout his career, but he has 3 50+ point seasons, 1 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes and now the Detroit Red Wings. Points of course aren’t the main thing you should look at in a defender. The Jets have had mixed results on the powerplay this season, and Gostisbehere would be a great addition as a puck moving defender on the powerplay with Morrissey.
Gostisbehere was only signed to a 1-year deal with the Red Wings as a likely short term option. If he isn’t re-signed, there will be a bunch of teams that will be interested in him for his offensive ability on the blueline. If the Jets signed him, it should be a 2 or max 3 year deal around 3 million per year. Gostisbehere could be paired with a defensive defender to make up for any liabilities he may have in his own end.
Tyler Myers – Current Team: Vancouver Canucks
Up next is a reunion with a former Winnipeg Jets defender, Tyler Myers. The idea seems a bit crazy, I get it, but he could be a missing piece to the Jets blueline. Myers has improved his game compared to previous seasons with the Canucks, collecting 5 goals and 24 assists for 29 points. The 34-year old right handed defender is one of the tallest defenders in the league, and is often used on the penalty kill.
The thing about Tyler Myers is that he’s a serviceable and durable defender when he’s deployed in the right roles. You may have seen some of the rather “chaotic” highlights from Myers during his time with the Canucks, which Myers has seem to keep to a minimum this season. The Jets don’t have much size on defence apart from Brenden Dillon, Dylan Samberg and Logan Stanley, all of whose futures may be uncertain with the team.
Myers was widely considered overpaid for his last free agency signing when he signed for 6 years, 36 million with the Canucks. His next contract is tougher to predict, but it should be ideally in the 2 to 3 million dollar range per year. Just like Gostisbehere, the Jets would ideally sign Myers to a 2 year, maximum 3 year deal. Another commonality with Gostisbehere and Myers is the sometimes positioning errors they make, not being in the right place at the right time. However, as I mentioned, the main draw with Myers would be his elite size and ability to shut it down on the penalty kill.
Alexandre Carrier – Current Team: Nashville Predators
The 3rd and final defender that the Jets might want to consider getting into contract talk with this off-season is Alexandre Carrier. Out of the 3 defenders, Carrier would be the safest option, as in you know what you’re getting with this guy. The 27-year old right handed defender got 4 goals and 16 assists for 20 points this season with the Predators. The biggest plus with Carrier’s game is his hockey sense, which allows him to play in various situations throughout a game.
Carrier has found himself a main roster spot with the Predators the last 5 seasons, and before that he spent time with the Predators’ AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Carrier appears to be a defender who is “underrated” in the league simply because he is less talked about on a team with other great defenders such as Roman Josi. Carrier might not give the Jets a lot of points, but it’s his overall versatility that could benefit the Jets roster.
Carrier’s previous contract was 2.5 million per year, but I would suspect that because of his solid play recently he will be getting a raise this off-season. If the Jets were to sign Carrier, I could see it being a 4 or 5 year deal at 3.5 to 4.5 million per season. His price tag and term will be worth it in the long run, because of his mobility and previously mentioned versatility. Carrier may be a smaller defender at 5’11”, but his previous traits make up for it and he plays a well-rounded defensive game. Carrier may even make for a good option on the Jets 2nd powerplay with a solid shot and his good puck-moving ability.
How realistic are these options for the Jets?
To summarize, these are just 3 of the many, many options for new defenders that the Jets may consider for next season. As previously mentioned, a lot of how the Jets defence will look next season depends on the future of those such as DeMelo and Dillon. Gostisbehere, Myers, and Carrier all may just end up getting re-signed by their current teams, meaning the Jets would have to look around for other options. Gostisbehere may be the likeliest to hit the open market because he was on a 1 year deal, but he also would be considered at the top of the UFA list, meaning more competition to try to sign him.
That being said, the 3 options might not be entirely realistic for the Jets because of those reasons, but they are nonetheless players that the Jets should at least reach out to if they hit free agency this summer. If DeMelo and Dillon end up re-signing, the Jets will mostly be covered for defence, and may even consider trying out a prospect on the blueline such as Ville Heinola. Again, there’s a lot of uncertainty with these kinds of questions, so you’ll have to wait for closer to free agency opening day for some of these answers.
Look for me to have a similar article next week but for forwards, and if you want to read a similar article but about goalie options, check out Goose’s article for potential Laurent Brossoit replacements.

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