Since the NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency started at weird times for us working people this year, coverage has been very delayed. And also there is not a lot of news to report on because the Winnipeg Jets are the Winnipeg Jets.
We have talked extensively about Pierre-Luc Dubois and the confirmation that he would like to play for the Montreal Canadiens. It seems like he will be traded at some point, but Evander Kane asked for a trade for four years before being traded for a return that helped the Jets a lot. So let’s hold out on Dubois being traded. He also did not elect for salary arbitration, so he can receive an offersheet or he can be traded fairly easily etc. This is an overall plus for the Jets. Mason Appleton elected for arbitration.
Now for free agency. The Manitoba Moose got a few new players, the Jets added some more depth on defence to start on the Moose (always needed in my opinion), and they signed David Rittich. The signing of Rittich meant that the Jets were unable to keep Eric Comrie. Actually, let’s be honest: their own incompetence was why Comrie was not retained. He had to hit a certain amount of minutes played to remain a restricted free agent and he did not hit that threshold. Instead, he became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Buffalo Sabres. Part of the reason this happened was because the Jets thought they were in the playoff race far longer than they were. You are not counted out until it is mathematically impossible to make the playoffs, but teams are often logically out of the playoffs well before then. Teams, not just the Winnipeg Jets, fall for this every year and act like they are still in the fight well after their time in contention for the playoffs is over. Playing Comrie a few games more would have kept him a RFA and kept him a Jet.
Making sense of the Jets free agency and off season is hard because it seems like they are trying to maintain a sinking ship. It appears that they are trying to plug holes on an aging roster that has performed to where it should for a while. Rebuilding would benefit the Jets now, if they are brave enough to try. Until then, welcome to the David Rittichs of the world.