This is much later than I promised, but I've finally put it together for you all!
We're just over half way through the season and have an idea of how this team fits together. Long story short, while there are a lot of bright spots, much of our roster leaves a lot to be desired. Our bottom 6 is not providing any complimentary offence outside of Wellwood and Antropov. If I were in charge of the Winnipeg Jets this offseason, my main priorities would be as follows, in order:
Resign key players and add other players through trade/FA. Specifics include:
- Beef up the bottom 6.
- Find a bonafide #3/4 D-Man to play with Zach Bogosian.
- If the price is right, find a #1C (unlikely).
Find a #1 goalie or someone at least somewhat better than Ondrej Pavelec.
We'll start with the resigning of key players. The following players are coming off the books and/or need new contracts. My thoughts as to what we should do are listed next to the players.
Nik Antropov - No thanks.
Blake Wheeler - Duh. $4,750,000 annual cap hit, 3-4 year term.
Bryan Little - Duh. $3,500,000 annual cap hit, 2 year term.
Kyle Wellwood - Yes please. $1,600,000, 1 year term. Same as now.
Alexander Burmistrov - Duh. $2,000,000 annual cap hit, 2 year term.
Antti Miettinen - No thanks.
Eric Tangradi - Maybe on a two-way deal. $726,000 for a 1 year, two-way deal.
Anthony Peluso - Only if we dump Thorburn. $650,000 for a 1 year, two-way deal.
To fill the rest of the roster, I propose the following:
Trade Jim Slater for whatever we can get for him; most likely a late round pick. There may be some teams we can convince to take him, as defensive centres that regularly kill penalties and win faceoffs are highly valued. Zenon Konopka doesn't kill penalties, sucks at fighting but is good at faceoffs and found a job with the Minnesota Wild. Replace him with Patrice Cormier.
Sign Boyd Gordon to take a spot on the 4th line. He has a good history of not getting slaughtered when going against toughs in a defensive role and is also a centre; he could be a good mentor for Cormier as well.
Send Tangradi down; he shows flashes of skill but has far too many games where he generates zero offence and gets shelled.
Buy out Chris Thorburn or bury him in the AHL if we can only use one buyout per year. No need to waste a roster spot with someone who can barely play.
If we’re going hard after a #1C, my choice would be Alex Steen. Asides from the fact that he’s Thomas Steen’s son, he drives play extremely well against tough competition. He’s 29 years old meaning he the odds are against him as far as being productive in the long term goes, but his skill set is well suited for an aging, defensively aware centre. It would take a lot to pry him away from STL. The deal would probably have to centre (haha) around either Little or Alex Burmistrov. Another obstacle is that we are moving in to the same division as the St. Louis Blues.
My preference would be to deal Little and a pick. I'm terrible at creating hypothetical trade scenarios, but Little is a good defensive centre; not as good offensively as Steen, but he is younger so I thought that a pick (2nd or 3rd rounder maybe?) would be enough to get the deal done if the Blues were interested. I doubt this would happen (hence why Little is still in my lineup) but I’ve included it anyways because it would be awesome.
After my changes:
Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Kane – Joker – Burmi
Klingberg/Telegin – Scheifele – Wellwood
Wright – Cormier – Gordon
Ron Hainsey - No thanks.
Zach Bogosian - Duh. $4,500,000 cap hit, 3 year term.
Gran Clitsome - No thanks.
Zach Redmond - Duh. $1,200,000 cap hit, 2 year deal.
Derek Meech - Two-way, keep him in STJ. $726,000 cap hit for a 2 year, two-way deal.
Paul Postma - Why not? $1,200,000 cap hit, 2 year deal.
Strongly pursue Ladislav Smid. He's playing on one of the worst teams in the league and is approaching UFA status and quality UFAs don't usually sign with teams who stink. He would fit well with Bogo and would give us one of the best D corps in the league.
After my changes:
Toby – Buff
Smid – Bogo
Redmond – Postma
This is about it for the skaters; overall a stronger group than what we have now.
Sign Niklas Backstrom; with the cap coming down and the Parise/Suter/Koivu/Heatley contracts seriously limiting their cap space, he won't be back in MIN.
Buy out Pavelec; this is subject to change if, against the odds, he really has turned a corner lately and we're seeing the quality netminder everyone thinks he can be. I doubt it and as such have bought him out.
Extend Al Montoya's contract; he has looked good as our backup and he deserves another shot with the team. $601,000 cap hit, 1 year deal.
Altogether, here is what my 2013-2014 incarnation of the Jets would look like.
Andrew Ladd ($4.400m) / Bryan Little ($3.500m) / Blake Wheeler ($4.750m)
Evander Kane ($5.250m) / Olli Jokinen ($4.500m) / Alexander Burmistrov ($2.000m)
Carl Klingberg ($0.870m) / Mark Scheifele ($1.594m) / Kyle Wellwood ($1.600m)
James Wright ($0.650m) / Patrice Cormier ($0.875m) / Boyd Gordon ($1.325m)
Anthony Peluso ($0.666m)
Tobias Enstrom ($5.750m) / Dustin Byfuglien ($5.200m)
Ladislav Smid ($3.150m) / Zach Bogosian ($4.500m)
Paul Postma ($1.200m) / Zach Redmond ($1.200m)
Mark Stuart ($1.700m)
Niklas Backstrom ($4.750m)
Al Montoya ($0.601m)
Buyout: Chris Thorburn ($0.000m)
Buyout: Ondrej Pavelec ($0.000m)
Note: Removed the totals as they were incorrect. Will re-add later.
So, what does everyone think? Like it? Hate it? Lets discuss!