Could the Winnipeg Jets make a blockbuster deal?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

On June 5th, Sportsnet writer Mark Spector posted an article about the potential of a blockbuster trade involving the Jets.

Mark Spector cited Winnipeg Jets General Manager Keving Chelevdayoff as saying "Maybe we’re the team that makes that blockbuster," and later added "You always have that zest, that desire to see if there’s that elusive deal that can help you."

To date, Chevy has appeared to be reluctant to make a splash in the trade market. Could the Jets pull a trigger on a blockbuster deal?

Breakdown

It’s been three seasons of the same story. "Draft and Develop." It seems to be the response to every question and the solution to every problem. Simply to focus on drafting and developing. That could be a reason why you don’t see the Jets trading picks or young players for a player who is ready to contributing now. But rather, focusing on the players that will contribute for the years to come.

That can be interpreted as either good or bad thing depending on perspective. It’s perhaps a bit of both. It’s evident that the nucleus of most recent Stanley Cup winning teams is comprised of players drafted and developed by the organization.

Kevin Cheveldayoff has drafted some quality players in his early tenure with the Winnipeg Jets. There are draft picks showing substantial promise at every level of hockey. Still, in a hockey-crazed market like Winnipeg, fans can be impatient. The draft and develop model is one that will take a handful of years to peak. Until then, there will be struggles.

Is it time to unload a now player and increase the draft and develop ammo? Is it time to beef up the Winnipeg Jets chances to win now? Chevy seems to be hinting a blockbuster trade that could be in the works, but exactly what kind of deals could we be seeing take place?

Personally, I would be surprised, if Chevy gave up a future asset such as this year’s first round pick, or the Jets’ first round pick in 2015, in which coveted forward Connor McDavid is expected to be selected first overall.

I can see a blockbuster happening, but I suspect it would be a trade that saw the Jets would give up one of their high caliber players in return for future assets. Yes, you read that right, more future assets. Watching the team take a step back might be difficult for some, but such a move could benefit the Jets for years to come.

Potential Trade Bait

Dustin Byfuglien

Dustin Byfuglien's value is high. Whether it’s in the trade market, on the ice or in fantasy hockey Byfuglien has high value. Byfuglien provides offense. His big body presence in front of the net and or his shot from the point could be used on all 30 teams in the NHL. With his apparent discomfort at forward (despite recent offensive success) a team could come knocking on the door and offer the Jets a trade where the Jets would cash in on a high return.

Byfuglien has two years left on his contract with the Jets. One has to wonder if he will stay beyond that if he is left at forward.

Evander Kane

To trade Kane would seemingly contradict Chevy’s plan. Kane is still young and still developing. Chevy's stated plan should aim to have many of those types of players on the roster. Still, there have been plenty of suggestions that Evander Kane could be on the move. No such word has come from within the Jets organization, but there have been many reports of outside interest. If there are truly a number of teams knocking on the door for Kane it could lure Chevy to take a second look and reevaluate his option. The thought of trading away someone who could be a consistent 30 goal scorer for the years to come is a scary, but the return could be huge.

Andrew Ladd

Ladd’s name is not often brought up in trade talks. Despite a few whispers that other teams were coveting Ladd near the trade deadline, there really never has been substantial talk about moving Ladd. Still, a case could be made to move him. Ladd is a player that would likely be coveted by nearly every team in the league.

He also has a contract that expires in two years. It is possible that he could grow frustrated with the team's lack of growth and look to move on upon the expiration of his contract. The Jets can't afford to have this happen. If the Jets organization believes that they aren’t going to make the playoffs anytime soon, moving a high value player such as Ladd could make some sense.

The team missed their opportunity to make the playoffs in their first two seasons - in what was arguably hockey’s weakest division. They are now in arguably hockey’s toughest division and the team hasn't shown substantial growth. It seems like there could be some tough times coming in Winnipeg. Because of this, maybe a type of rebuild move could be in the works. Trading Ladd is only one example of such a move.

Should the Jets be looking to rebuild?

In my opinion, yes. I believe the Jets should be looking to trade a "core" piece. Why you may ask? I think that players like Ladd, Little and Wheeler have hit their peak. Their ceiling has been hit and they will likely plateau over the next few years before they decline. If the team won't be ready to compete for a while, why not look towards the future.

Trading a player such as Ladd could net a high return - a return that could provide the Jets with multiple assets and potentially bolster long term depth.

Conclusion

As I see it, the Jets are in a bit of a pickle. They aren’t all in on a rebuild and they aren’t contending. Because of this, it’s hard to get a read on the potential trade plans. Still, regardless of which direction Chevy goes it looks like any potential blockbuster trade will see the Jets trading a star player rather than acquiring one.

As it stands I don't feel the Jets have a roster capable of contending over the short term in the tough Central Conference. Then again, with the fast and productive development of Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele, playoff hockey could be coming to the MTS Centre sooner than we think.

If Kevin Cheveldayoff does make a blockbuster trade, what kind of move are you anticipating?

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