Well, the Winnipeg Jets do appear to be on the search for help up the middle. Pierre LeBrun has reported that the Jets have already spoken with Pittsburgh about a former target.
Now, we’re hearing they’ve already talked to Pittsburgh about acquiring Brassard, who has been a disaster after a solid yet unspectacular showing down the stretch for the Pens.
The former Blue Jacket and Rangers centerman has just 15 points in 40 contests, with a paltry 43.8% Corsi. The Pens want to ship him out partially for that reason, and partially to clear space for Justin Schultz‘s imminent return.
Despite his poor showing, the Winnipeg Jets had interest in him in the past, and it stands to reason they think he’d improve his play in Manitoba. That being said, I doubt Brassard is plan A, as a deal for someone like Matt Duchene would move the needle a bit more.
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It’s plausible that Brassard wouldn’t represent an upgrade for the Jets, despite the fact that Bryan Little looks more like a bottom six player every day. But they think he still has some magic in him, and he’s always been a guy that can move the puck and make the tough pass.
He’s a mediocre faceoff guy (career 48%), but his playmaking ability make him a second-line fixture for some really good Rangers team, including one that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014.
Brassard is not an elite option at the center position, and he really never was. But he’s relatively cheap at $3MM against the cap, he has some pedigree and the Jets have had interest in him before. The Penguins are also motivated to move him, and not pay him, so the cost to acquire could be minimal.
I personally like Brassard, but again, he doesn’t move the needle much. I think he’s probably a better scoring option on the second line than Little is, but he’s not a huge possession guy and that’s really what they could use on the second line.
Honestly Duchene isn’t a perfect fit for that exact reason, but he’s a point per game player and a really good faceoff guy.
Mark Stone would be an ideal target, if the Jets want to pony up what it would take to acquire him. Kevin Hayes would be another great option to beef up the forward position. But the point is, we know Cheveldayoff and co are out there looking for help.
I’d be surprised if the Jets overpay for someone, but I definitely expect them to acquire someone, especially now. They’ll make the deal that makes the most sense now and in the future, regardless of whether it’s the best player they could acquire.
Would I like to see them sell the farm for Mark Stone? Yeah, kinda. But I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t. We know they want the help, now, though. Not that we weren’t fairly certain anyway, having traded for and attempting to re-sign Paul Stastny.
And after watching a solid trade target in Jake Muzzin go to the Leafs from the Kings, moving quickly would be advised, despite having a little over three weeks until the deadline.