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Winnipeg Jets Free Agency: Defence

Can the Jets get what they need in free agency?

St Louis Blues v San Jose Sharks - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Free agency starts on July first and the Winnipeg Jets will hopefully be looking to fill some needs this off-season. There are always the options of trades and a couple of those options were talked about yesterday. The Jets should be looking at helping their defence via free agency and there are a few options out there.

Erik Karlsson

Karlsson is the crown of free agency and most people have him pegged as going to the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the bigger issue with the Jets is his next contract would be hard to fit into the team’s contract structure because they have young players coming off of entry-level deals and getting big raises.

Jake Gardiner

The Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman is currently dealing with the fact that he is becoming known as the opposite of Mr. Game Seven, but Gardiner is a good defencemen most of the time and would be of use to the Jets in one area in particular; puck movement. If the Jets trade Jacob Trouba, Gardiner could easily slot into his salary spot and play in the top four. He is a much better fit than many of the other free agent defencemen available and he is younger than them all to boot.

Other Options

While there are many other options on defence when it comes to free agents, they don’t really fit the Jets based on age and (lack of) skill now. It would make more sense to figure out a way to trade for help or to use precious draft picks to offer-sheet someone instead. Sometimes the best money spent on July first is the money not spent on mistakes. It can be smarter to make a list and not compromise on it if you don’t get who you want. It is almost time to see what Kevin Cheveldayoff does come July 1.