The Winnipeg Jets have been targeting a centre at the trade deadline this year. The first centre they targeted was Derick Brassard and he was snapped up by the Pittsburgh Penguins with some help from the Vegas Golden Knights who did not want the Jets to get him. The second player was Tomas Plekanec who was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs after Marc Bergevin worked to keep him in the Eastern Conference without losing out on return.
This leaves the Jets without even an okay centre available on the market. However, it is not the end of the world. Hopefully, Adam Lowry is able to return to full health and resume his third line centre role. Andrew Copp can slide onto the fourth line and let Matt Hendricks be scratched. This is better than the lineup the Jets are icing right now.
The Jets were not outbid for either player. In the case of Brassard, the trade market changed when Pittsburgh was able to engage a third party to eat some of his cap hit. When it came to Plekanec the Jets were said to have a similar package as the Leafs, but Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin worked to keep him in the Eastern Conference which is what Plekanec wanted.
The Jets probably do need to get another centre because Lowry’s health has been so hit and miss this year. Their best bet might be a player like Josh Leivo from the Toronto Maple Leafs who is young and talented enough, but has not been in the Leafs lineup much this year thanks to Mike Babcock loving Dominic Moore. He would be cheaper to acquire than Plekanec or Brassard and would be able to provide insurance for Lowry without messing with the cap situation in coming years. They could also look at a player like Nic Dowd from the Vancouver Canucks who has actually played frequently this year.
The Jets have lost out to two players to no fault of their own. It is not their fault that Vegas came in and facilitated the Brassard trade to Pittsburg and it is definitely not their fault that Bergevin honoured Plekanec request to stay in the Eastern Conference. However, the Jets need another centre and they have two viable options right now that they can probably get for less than Plekanec or Brassard.