Winnipeg Jets: Three Thoughts Post Trade Deadline

Winnipeg Jets, Blake Wheeler #26, (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets, Blake Wheeler #26, (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Winnipeg Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers #27, (Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Big changes are coming this summer for the Jets

No matter how big of a fan you are, or how much of an optimist, the Jets’ chances of making the playoffs with 19 games remaining are slim to none (actually 9% according to this).

Hypothetically, even if the Jets do buck the mathematical odds, their reward in the first round would likely be to face the Colorado Avalanche, who at this point have a higher probability of making the Stanley Cup finals than the Jets do of making the playoffs. So assuming the Jets either miss the playoffs or make it and are swept in four games, changes will need to be made.

Starting with coaching, it’s unlikely that interim head coach Dave Lowry will be retained in his current role should either of these scenarios happen. I suspect that whoever is brought in as head coach would also choose their own assistants, meaning that it’s highly probable that the Jets will start with a clean slate from a coaching perspective.

Cheveldayoff’s number one priority in terms of UFA’s will be to re-sign Pierre Luc Dubois to a long-term deal. Dubois has rebounded from his disappointing last season to one where he is heading towards a career high in points and playing the type of two-way game that the team envisioned when he was acquired.

Fortunately, the team has a little more breathing room in terms of salary cap space thanks in part to Cheveldayoff’s trade of Bryan Little’s LTIR contract to the Arizona Coyotes.

Finally, Cheveldayoff will have to address the logjam on defense, as veterans Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon, and Nate Schmidt combine to eat up almost $11 million in cap space. Given that the organization has two or three defense prospects that could step into a middle or bottom pair role now, it may be time to consider moving one or more of these veterans for help upfront or cap space.

Underachieving teams like the Jets cannot afford to be too precious about keeping this group together and hope for different results. I suspect that Kevin Cheveldayoff knows this and that there will be some significant changes this coming summer.

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