What is the trade value for Connor Hellebuyck and Pierre-Luc Dubois?

Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images) /

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. You don’t have to be Warren Buffet to understand that the NHL landscape is a marketplace steeped in these microeconomics. The Winnipeg Jets hold relevant assets that are market bound, so what relative value do they possess?

Value is subjective, but auspiciously, we have precedent at our disposal to put together an educated guess. Any such analysis is contingent on a rebuild vs. retool mentality, as precedent becomes far less robust when looking at star-for-star trades. Speaking of which:

What is the market for Pierre-Luc Dubois?

PLD’s camp has initiated their ‘thrust and riposte’ with an aggressive declaration that PLD is looking to make $9M per year. That is the asking price, but is it commensurate with his value? I call PLD’s request the “Matthew Barzal Corollary” or the “Jeff Skinner Induction”.  Both players are paid north of $9M per year and produce below an elite level. I’m certain Pat Brisson has these players flagged for benchmarking:

Courtesy of the cheeringthelogo.ca, PLD falls more in the $7-8M range – comparable to Nick Suzuki and Roope Heintz:

If we assume the figures above are more accurate, then what do players of this ilk go for on the open market? Again, we will ignore direct player-to-player trading for now as it is far more speculative (and something the Jets shouldn’t be considering at this stage).

Kevin Fiala and Sam Reinhart (further comparables) were both traded for a 1st round pick and a prospect (Brock Faber and Devon Levi respectively). Alex DeBrincat, a more prolific scorer, was traded for 1st, 2nd  and 4th round picks. Therein lies the market. The Winnipeg Jets should reasonably expect a 1st round pick and a decent prospect in return for PLD.

Outliers exist, such as the haul given by Tampa Bay for Tanner Jeannot (5 picks), however, that trade was widely panned and one the Lightning will almost certainly regret.

PLD is perceived as a young, 2-way centreman – one of the most coveted assets on the market. That said, he has not produced offensively, or defensively for that matter, at a level to be considered in the upper echelon of talent. Players like Bo Horvat and Jack Eichel went for more than ascribed above, but I submit that they belong in the aforementioned upper tier of NHL players.

Proponents against a total rebuild point to the Tkachuk/Huberdeau trade as a means of staying Stanley Cup relevant. Last offseason, Tkachuk notified the Calgary Flames that he had no intention of signing a long-term deal to stay in Calgary. The Flames parlayed the squeeze into acquiring Jonathan Huberdeau, the first time in NHL history two 100-point scorers were exchanged in such a manner.

Thus far, the Panthers are the clear victors of the trade, having just made the Stanley Cup Final, but the circumstances leading up to the trade are largely unreproducible. The Laine/PLD trade was similar, but again, not readily duplicated. Not impossible, just highly unlikely.

What is the market for Connor Hellebuyck?

Every aspect of goaltending is atypical. Goalies are a market onto themselves given the scarcity at the position and their relative shelf life. The better question is when was the last time a Vezina finalist was on the trading block?

Historically, the first name that comes to mind is Dominik Hasek. He was traded from Buffalo to Detroit shortly after winning his 6th Vezina Trophy. In exchange, Buffalo received a 1st round pick and Vyacheslav Kozlov. Hasek was 36 at the time, and many believed on his last legs. To Buffalo’s chagrin, he went on to win multiple Stanley Cups with Detroit.

Dating back two years from today’s date, goalies have been involved in 38 trades across the league. Upon review, two anomalies emerge:

1.       Goalies are frequently traded for each other; and

2.       Many goalie trades involve backups for ‘future considerations’.

The truth is, the Jets find themselves in a somewhat unique position. A goalie of Hellebuyck’s caliber is seldom on the market. As a result, the parameters are far less defined.

However, there are a number of very good playoff teams that could benefit from Hellebuyck’s services. Edmonton, New Jersey and Carolina are examples of teams that may be willing to ‘make it rain’ provided they get Hellebuyck to work the poles.

Unlike the PLD quicksand, the Jets can really explore all avenues to maximize their return. Presupposing the Jets don’t look to exchange goalie-for-goalie, they might be in a position to load up on speculative talent.

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“The Summer of Chevy” will be a busy one. I can’t accurately gauge the pressure Chevedayoff might be facing, as outwardly, he appears immune to job scrutiny. That, or Mark Chipman has an outsized impact on player personnel decisions. Regardless, this summer is the fulcrum of Jets 2.0. Are the Winnipeg Jets ‘bears’ or ‘bulls’ – only time will tell.