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Should the Winnipeg Jets Protect Josh Morrissey?

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This is an exercise in thinking.

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets - Game Three Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL is going to have another expansion draft soon to welcome the Seattle Kraken to the NHL. This means that once again the Winnipeg Jets and the rest of the NHL will have to decide who to protect from the Kraken and once again the decision will not be an easy one. The hardest position to decide will once again be defence and if the Jets do the 7-3-1 set up again the decision will be harder yet.

The Jets should consider not protecting Josh Morrissey. There, I said it. They should protect Dylan DeMelo with their life, Neal Pionk with their death, and whoever else with what is left of them, but Morrissey should be left unprotected. He has not earned his contract at all and often times his play hurts the Winnipeg Jets more than it helps them. While it is a possibility that the Jets would lose him, based on the front office the Kraken have built, there is a good chance they would target a forward like Mason Appleton instead. The Jets are in a no-win situation, but might be able to dangle a potentially appealing piece at the Kraken knowing there is a low chance he gets taken by them.

However, there would be a risk in exposing Morrissey and part of that risk is the fact that the Jets could probably trade him in the off-season for more than he is worth if the wanted to. The other risk is that Dylan DeMelo makes him into a real NHL defenceman and the Jets can always use more of those. Playing Morrissey with DeMelo and playing Heinola at all would help solve the Jets defensive issues.

Potentially losing Logan Stanley would not be as big of a deal as some will make it seem. They would have to qualify him (I think) to even protect him which they will most certainly do. On top of that, they have to decide if it is worthwhile protecting a bottom-pairing defenceman when you can find those on the open market all the time. Couple that with having Dylan Samberg waiting in the AHL and there is the potential for the Jets to lose Stanley, if Seattle chooses to go that route, and not lose a lot.

Finally, you have your no-movement clauses and your no-trade clauses. If I remember correctly, even modified no-trades and no-movements must have player approval. In the case of the Jets this means DeMelo needs to approve being left unprotected as would Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Adam Lowry. Of course I might be completely wrong and maybe only Wheeler needs to approve since he is the only one with a no-movement clause and the other three have modified no-trades.

However this shakes out, the Winnipeg Jets should have the discussion about not protecting Josh Morrissey. It is an exercise in team building and player evaluation as well as trying to guess how a team might view Morrissey. If they think that he would be viewed in a positive light, they would be right to protect him now and try to trade him later. It is all a matter of maximizing assets at a time when you know that you will lose someone for nothing.