Winnipeg Jets Can’t Afford to Lose Brandon Tanev

The Winnipeg Jets have plenty of tweaks to make over the offseason. On top of that, they have very limited cap space. That means they can’t afford to make mistakes.

The Winnipeg Jets would be making a large mistake by letting Brandon Tanev go. Unfortunately, they also would be making a mistake by overpaying him to stay.

He’s a great fit for the team and the kind of depth player the team will suffer from losing. The NHL is big on depth, especially in the playoffs. He provides premium depth at (currently) a non-premium cost.

The Jets have seven true unrestricted free agents (players that were in the lineup at some point) and of them, I could do without Par Lindholm and certainly without the aging (or aged) Matt Hendricks.

That leaves Tanev, Tyler Myers, Kevin Hayes, Bogdan Kiselevich and Ben Chiarot. Chiarot would be nice to keep around for defensive depth , as would Kiselevich, although to a lesser extent.

Myers feels like he’s on his way out the door, but who knows. I imagine the Jets will make an effort to keep Hayes, but who could know how that will turn out just yet.

Tanev, however, should be held onto. He’s not a star, not by any means. But whittling away your quality depth is a surefire way to be left with a stars and scrubs roster that might not sniff the playoffs (see Blackhawks, Chicago).

The Jets traded serviceable forward Joel Armia last offseason, and people were saying he held the team together by midseason. That wasn’t true, to be certain, but it’s not like Jack Roslovic stepped up in his absence.

Winnipeg has to tow the line and ship off some players that cost money and try and figure out how to get cheap value. Tanev should be kept, but not at all costs. The loss, even if it is necessary, would hurt the Jets.

Tanev is useful in all of the facets of the game that aren’t flashy. Mainly, he kills penalties and blocks shots. Those are things you need, especially in the playoffs. It shoulds easy enough to get out in front of a puck, but some guys aren’t as cut out for it as others. Tanev’s good at it.

Oh, and he’s really fast. He may not have the skill that some others possess, but he’s what you might call “gritty”. No, not that one. I know cap space needs clearing, but if the Jets are going to shed the minor dollars that a 29 point scorer would demand, they need to shed elsewhere.

I’d rather see a buyout of Bryan Little than just letting Tanev go. I’d certainly rather see a Little buyout than a Mathieu Perreault trade, which allegedly has been discussed internally.

As my colleague outlined, the Jets also need new contracts for RFAs Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine and Andrew Copp. I’d hate to see any of those guys go. I doubt they will. Jacob Trouba, who is also an RFA, who knows.

The Jets have to make shrewd moves, and I hope one of them is keeping Tanev. The team struggled late in the season, but he had the best year of his young career and is valuable anywhere on the bottom six.

Sometimes who you have on the bottom six makes more of a difference than who’s at the top. Sometimes. I hope the Jets have Tanev for those times.