What are the Winnipeg Jets options in this years draft?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Draft at 9? Trade up? Trade down? Byfuglien? Kane?

With the NHL Draft fast approaching, the Jets are presented with many options. As of now, the Jets are slotted in at the ninth overall pick. A top ten pick is a valuable asset. Whether the pick is used to select a player or it is traded, the pick remains a valuable asset. It seems as though Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is very open to making a move at the draft. By all accounts it seems as if he is open to making a move on the draft floor. Could he trade star winger Evander Kane? What should the Jets do in the first round?

Here are some things you could see the Jets do:

Trade up in the draft

The temptation of moving up in the draft is always there for a lot of teams. Trading in to the top 5 could amount to a great addition to the club. There have been some reports that the Jets do have some interest in trading up to the number one pick. The Jets definitely could do this; they have two high end assets to complete the deal in Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.

Drafting first overall would be a chance to add another valuable prospect to the system, but it would also be expensive. How much is trading up 8 draft spots really worth for the Jets? That’s up to Cheveldayoff and the rest of the Jets management to decide. What is a top 3 selection in this years draft worth? Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad and Sam Bennett are some potential top 3 picks that could help the Jets in the present or the years to come. Would they be worth the short term pain?

Trade Evander Kane

The rumors wont go away. Teams won’t stop calling. Reporters just wont stop talking about it. Evander Kane has been one of the most talked about names in the rumor mil heading in to the draft.  But Kane remains a Jet. Will that change?

On the draft floor offers can heat up and price tags can inflate. Kane holds a lot of value and if a deal comes a long that Chevy can't refuse, he has to pull the trigger. I’m not saying the Jets will trade Kane just to trade Kane. It has to be the right offer. As is always the case with trades, the return is key.  A team like the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Montreal Canadiens could be interested enough in Kane’s services to pull a mega deal together. They definitely have the assets to do so.

Trade Down In the Draft

Another way to acquire assets would be to trade down in the draft. After the highly regarded top five ranked players (Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl Sam Bennett and Michael Dal Colle) picks six through 10 (or maybe even 15 depending who you believe) are seemingly very wide open. The Jets could trade back to the 14-17 range and in the process pick up some nice assets.

Perhaps they could add a second round pick, to make up for the one they lost in the Devin Setoguchi trade. This is an interesting draft in that public rankings are all over the place. Perhaps Chevy covets a player like Julius Honka, Dylan Larkin, Anthony DeAngelo or Kasperi Kapanen and figures they will be on the board later than #9.

Trade Dustin Byfuglien

Byfuglien’s name has been mentioned as someone who could potentially be on the move. Byfuglien’s versatility is through the roof. He can serve a team as a defenceman producing offense and blasting shots from the point on the Power play. He can also serve the team as a big, strong power forward annoying goalies in front of the net.

Regardless of where he plays, Byfuglien knows how to produce points. He also provides the physical edge that teams covet. Teams like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, or the Edmonton Oilers could benefit from a player with his skill set. Trading Byfuglien could potentially bring back another first round pick. Cheveldayoff shouldn’t be hesistant to put his finger on the trigger if he gets the right offer.

Select A Player at Pick #9

Another top ten pick for the Jets. Three of the four drafts since the Jets returned to Winnipeg have seen the Jets picking withing the top ten. Because of this the Jets have been able to add a few high talent prospects in Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba.

While drafting within the top ten isn't a great sign for a franchise, it is great on draft day. The Jets will be afforded the opportunity to take another potential star this evening. Players like Jake Virtanen, William  Nylander, Haydn Fleury, Nikolaj Ehlers or Nick Ritchie could be selected by the Jets. Any player they take should have potential to help the Jets in the long term.

Conclusion

It seems as though it could be a wild draft. Whatever route the Jets decide to go down, there will surely be fans who approve and others who don't. As Chevy's phone continues to ring fans will eagerly anticipate the next piece of news from Jets land.

Maybe this year is the year where Cheveldayoff makes a blockbuster deal. Perhaps this deal steals the show at TSN. Or perhaps he stays put and drafts anther stud. There are always a lot of ifs and buts, but one thing is for sure. People will be listening and there will be excitement and there will be promise for the future.

What do you expect to happen tonight?

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