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Winnipeg Jets Forward Group: Roster Holes and UFA Targets

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Part one of a three part series on how to fill the roster over the summer including waiver implications, RFA status, and organizational depth

Will RFAs O'Dell and Halischuk be back?
Will RFAs O'Dell and Halischuk be back?
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

As free agency approaches the Winnipeg Jets will have some decisions to make. The roster has some obvious holes that will need to be filled. Where are these holes? How can they be filled? Keep reading to find out.

All forwards that either have a one-way contract or are RFAs that will likely garner one:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

UFA/trade - UFA/trade - Dustin Byfuglien

Eric Tangradi - Jim Slater - Eric O`Dell

Anthony Peluso

UFAs: Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi, Chris Thorburn
RFAs: Matt Halischuk, James Wright

Problem #1: Lack of center depth.


After Scheifele was injured this past season, it was painfully obvious that center depth was not a team strength.  O'Dell may have an outside shot as a top six centre, but he is unproven. Losing Jokinen leaves the Jets with only two centers who are proven top six commodities. Slater isn't a long term top nine solution, and O'Dell may not be either. 

Solution : Acquire a versatile center (can play wing, PK, good on faceoffs) in free agency or trade

Target : Jussi Jokinen would be perfect, but there are other options such as Brian Gibbons, Marcel Goc, Mike Cammalleri

Solution #2 :  Bring back Alex Burmistrov. Rumors are that his contract demands were too high this past summer. Regardless of why, he has elected to stay in Russia and honor his contract so this ship has sailed for the 14/15 season.

Problem #2: Waivers


Eric O`Dell, Carl Klingberg, John Albert, Patrice Cormier all need waivers fall 2014

Solution : Cormier and Albert have cleared before and will likely clear again. Perhaps give Klingberg a trial on the 4th line if he doesn't stick send him down, but don't reserve a roster spot just for him.  Keep O'Dell, he deserves a shot and would likely be claimed.

Problem #3: Lack of LW depth


Kane and Ladd are legit top six wingers, but they are the only two left wingers worth of top nine ice. The third line is vacant and the Jets are unlikely to have anybody from the farm pushing them for quite a while.

Solution : Acquire a decent two-way LW with good strong possession numbers. If this player can also play centre, they deserve far more consideration.  

Target : Benoit Pouliot, Dustin Penner, Mike Cammalleri (who also plays centre), Ales Hemsky, Mason Raymond

Problem #4: Lack of prospect wingers


The Winnipeg Jets farm system lacks wingers, especially high end prospects.

Solution #1: Sign Jordan Samuels-Thomas. There may be less than 50% chance he becomes an NHLer, but if the don't sign him by August 15th he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Solution #2: Bring back Ivan Telegin. He has shown promise, but the circumstances of his departure are a concern.   He does have an ELC.

Solution #3: Have a hell of a draft on June 27th and 28th. Will Chevy repeat 2013?

Solution #4: Find some college/European free agents. Jiri Sekac comes to mind.

Solution #5: Make a trade.  The problem is the teams two most valuable trade pieces - Byfuglien and Kane - are wingers.  What about trading Postma?

Note:

No consideration was given for the salary cap, league imposed or internal. If we assume O'Dell sticks with the Jets they will have approximately $20.4 million to spend on six positions according to capgeek, or around $3.4 million per roster spot.

What do you think the Jets should do with their forward group this off season? Share your thoughts below.