As the days and weeks of the 2016-17 NHL season wind down, the Winnipeg Jets have a 28-29-6 record, 62 points in 63 games played, and find themselves at the mercy of the Western Conference. The Jets are currently sitting 5 points back of the St. Louis Blues for the final wildcard spot, but the Blues have 2 games in hand. Having played at least 1 game more than their divisional counterparts, the team sits with a roughly 15.49% chance of making the playoffs. Tomorrow, the team faces a re-tooled and Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild.
In looking back, I wrote Holiday Roster Freeze & Thaw on December 21st. The Jets, along with the rest of the NHL, was entering their several day long Christmas break and rosters could not be tinkered with substantially over that time. What’s really happened since then?
Alexander Burmistrov was placed on waivers and quickly snatched up.
Drew Stafford and Chris Thorburn remain.
Andrew Copp was pushed up the lineup, flourished, quickly brought back down the lineup, and then found himself on the sidelines due to injury.
Brandon Tanev bounced back and forth from the minors twice.
For the back end, Connor Hellebuyck struggled.
Micheal Hutchinson may have struggled more.
Ondrej Pavelec was brought up from the MB Moose, and played the starter role for a few games, until he experienced an injury.
Connor Hellebuyck regains the starter’s net, and seems to shake his non-confidence, although his last game prior to the break contained a goal I know he wishes he had back.
On Defense, Tyler Myers is still out, and after another surgery, could be done for the season.
Toby Enstrom is injured, and although he may be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday, the bright glow of the spotlight was aimed at the defensive corps and it’s glaring lack of depth.
Julian Melchiori was brought back up. Mark Stuart was inserted back in the lineup. Jacob Trouba has one more game to go on his 2 game suspension...
Overall, the fan base called for blood.
...And that’s just over 2 months. No trades. no waiver claims. No news is good news, or so they say.
Wednesday is trade deadline day, the day that TV broadcasters and commentators hate, and NHL general managers always question whether they did enough to help their teams for the stretch drive when the clock strikes closing time. But, how should a team like the Jets use the next 2 and a half days? My guess is cautiously.
The so aptly called silly season is upon us, when deals are made and scrutinized heavily. Or when general managers sit on their hands, do nothing, and, you guessed it, are still scrutinized heavily. It really is the no-win part of the season. After all, there are always winners and losers of every trade, and no one wants risk to be on the losing end of a deal that could fracture the team in the mid to long term. But, I would hazard a guess that the team is working the phones, looking for suitors for the expiring contracts, so consider Stafford, Thorburn, & Pavelec all tradebait. Here’s what the Jets have to work with for the remainder of the season, barring any unlikely activity over the next day or so...
As an armchair GM, what would you do? What moves would you make?