The Winnipeg Jets had quite the interesting offseason, whether it be their restricted free agent situation or their general manager’s touch of Peter Chiarelli with some of his poorly done tradings and signings. Today, I’m going to be breaking down the team’s offseason from the signings to the draft and oh boy, are you in for a ride.
Patrik Laine, 21, signed a two-year bridge deal with the Winnipeg Jets worth an AAV of $6.75 million. Last season, he scored 30 goals and registered 50 points, but he only scored nine goals after December 1st and had no more than four goals in any month besides November. This contract is not a good one, even for a bridge deal considering how poorly Laine has been playing the past couple of years. 0/10. Do not recommend.
Kyle Connor signed a long-term contract, earning him $7,142,857 per year for the next seven years with a full No-Trade Clause in the last two years of his brand new deal. Last season, Connor scored 34 goals and recorded a total of 66 points. In the year prior, he scored 31 goals, meanwhile, recording 57 points.
Connor has been pretty consistent for the last two years and has flown under the radar as one of the more underrated players in the NHL. This signing is okay at best. You are hoping Connor continues to get better, but if he doesn’t, then you’re stuck paying a 50 point player $7 million a year for the next seven years. 4/10. Do not recommend.
This contract, however, came after Dustin Byfuglien took a personal leave of absence to determine his future in the NHL and still hasn’t returned. If Byfuglien were to return to the NHL, that would leave Winnipeg with only $116,000 in cap space, according to capfriendly.com.
Byfuglien, however, was suspended without pay by the team for failing to report to training camp and as of October 3rd, 2019, hasn’t even practiced with the team. No decision has been announced by him or the team regarding his return to the NHL. This comes after the Jets lost most of their defensive core.
Trouba to the Rangers, Tyler Myers to the Canucks, Chiarot to the Canadiens and they left Joe Morrow unsigned. So after last year’s playoff run that led to a first round exit, the only returning defenseman is Dmitry Kulikov. The Jets are going to need a lot of defensive help if they’re going to make another cup run.
Before the draft, the Jets traded Jacob Trouba for their first and Neal Pionk as well as trading Kevin Hayes to the Flyers for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft. With the first round pick at #20, the Jets selected defenseman Ville Heinola. He had 14 points in 34 games and a +7 last season with Lukko in the Finnish Liiga. Heinola has great hockey IQ and is good at moving the puck. Heinola’s IQ will lead him to huge amounts of success in the NHL.
With the 51st overall pick, the Jets selected defenseman Simon Lundmark from the Swedish Hockey League. Lundmark doesn’t exceed at anything specific, but he doesn’t do anything poorly. If having to pick one thing he does exceptionally well, it’s his defensive positioning. He never gets caught out of position and has no problem getting in the way of flying pucks.
With their fourth-round pick at 113th overall, the Jets selected Center Henri Nikkanen. Nikkanen is 6’4, 203 pounds and isn’t afraid to use his size to his advantage. He had eight points in 10 games with his Junior team last season and then one point in two games internationally in the U20 Juniors.
With the first of their fifth-round picks, at 134th overall, the Jets selected Center Harrison Blaisdell from the BCHL. Blaisdell had 58 points in 51 games last season. Blaisdell is one of those guys who will give his all on every shift and not to mention, he’s got wheels.
His offensive IQ is off the charts and despite his size, he’s not opposed to being aggressive with the puck. He won’t be one of those guys laying punishing hits, but he will certainly beat you with his positioning and his speed.
With their last pick of the draft at 143rd overall, the Jets selected goaltender Logan Neaton from the BCHL. He had a .914 save percentage in 47 games and a 1.92 GAA. Neaton has great hand control and a ton of patience as well.
The 6’2 goalie isn’t afraid of using his size to his advantage in taking away lanes. Neaton is a good goaltender who has a promising future, potentially as a starting goalie in the NHL if he continues to grow and develop. He’ll never be one of those elite goalies, but he could be a formidable opponent in any league he plays in.