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A basic road map for the Winnipeg Jets off-season

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Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
19 days ago
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The dust has finally settled from what was just a crazy ending to the 2023-24 NHL season. It took until a game 7 in late June to finally crown a champion. Congrats to the Florida Panthers on taking home their franchise 1st Stanley Cup. The Oilers almost pulled off the comeback of the century, but unfortunately the streak of a Canadian team not winning the Stanley Cup continues. Today, I wanted to do a basic road map of what you should expect for the Winnipeg Jets this off-season.
While there usually seems to be some level of unpredictability to the off-season, there’s a few moves that the Jets need to do in order to have a successful off-season. One quick comment to note about last night’s game 7 before I get into this road map is that Paul Maurice quote about the Jets in his speech at the end of Monday night’s game 7. “If I could have one more thing, it’s for the Winnipeg Jets to win the Stanley Cup,” Maurice said post-game. That caught me off-guard (in a good way), but it also re-established my respect for Paul Maurice for his time as the head coach with the Jets.
Because the Stanley Cup ended on the last possible day of the season, the off-season is going to be in full swing over the next couple of weeks. Teams already have started making moves, including the Jets, who today re-signed Dylan DeMelo to a 4-year, $19.6 million extension. I’ll get to that signing more soon, but as I mentioned, it’s going to be a very busy next week for the NHL. You have the NHL awards, the NHL draft, and the 2024-25 schedules to be announced just to name a few of the events.
The Jets go into this off-season looking to build off what most would say was a successful season. Looking at the projected cap space for the Jets (from CapFriendly), the Jets have just under $8.8 milion in cap space, but that number will be increasing due to the NHL salary cap going up by $4.5 million next season, up to $88 million. That being said, step 1 for the Jets this off-season will be trying to re-sign their unrestricted and restricted free agents.
The Jets have 5 notable unrestricted free agents (UFAs) this year. Sean Monahan, Tyler Toffoli, Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon, and Laurent Brossoit. I believe the Jets will try to re-sign Monahan, as he looked like a good fit on the team this season. Whenever you trade a 1st round pick for someone, you want to at least try to re-sign that player if possible, so the Jets should prioritize getting that deal done as soon as possible.
As for the other 4 UFAs, Toffoli appears to be headed to the open market on July 1st. Dylan DeMelo just re-signed with the Jets today, and other than Monahan, he would have been my 2nd priority for giving a new deal. Dillon is all but confirmed to be hitting the open market in free agency, and the same is likely to occur with Miller and Brossoit. Losing those players will be tough, but each of them could be fairly easily replaceable with free agents or upcoming prospects.
As for restricted free agents (RFAs), the Jets have 3 notable players that need new deals. David Gustafsson, Cole Perfetti, and Logan Stanley. Each of these players have had their ups and downs in their development in their young NHL careers, but I expect that the best move here is for the Jets to give all 3 of them new deals, even if it’s just a short term deal.
Next on the Jets off-season checklist will be the NHL draft, which gets underway in Vegas this Friday and Saturday. The Jets only have 5 draft picks this year, a 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round pick, so they will need to draft as best as they can with each of these picks. Reports have come out that the Jets may look to trade Nikolaj Ehlers, who has one year left on his current contract. Reports have also confirmed that the Jets are actively trying to trade one of their current top prospects, Rutger McGroarty. These 2 players could return the Jets some additional draft picks on draft night, and I just think if the deal makes sense, the Jets will make it happen.
Finally, the biggest day of the NHL off-season, July 1st, the beginning of free agency. Of course, there are other somewhat significant dates later on in the off-season, such as deadline for players to elect for arbitration, prospect camps and training camps. July 1st is the day of all days for the NHL off-season, because it’s where teams add new pieces to their teams from the free agent market. The Jets should look for a left-handed defence (to replace Dillon), a veteran, established backup goalie (to replace Brossoit), and a scoring winger (to replace Toffoli). Here I’m assuming that these 3 players will need to replaced, but even if they re-sign, these will be the main types of players that the team will look for on July 1st.
After what should be a wild free agent frenzy on July 1st, the off-season road map will carve it’s own path depending on the moves the Jets make. It’s impossible to predict what could happen, and until moves are actually made it’s best just to sit back and try to enjoy this busy beginning to the NHL off-season. I know this “road map” that I made for the Jets off-season isn’t entirely straight forward, and that’s just because things can change quickly with just one move. Whatever does happen, I’ll be ready to cover all the latest news for you here on Jets Nation.

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