After a very disappointing season, the Winnipeg Jets are heading into the summer with a plethora of questions. Changes of some kind need to be made, and this very well could lead them to be active in the trading market. This is something that the Boston Bruins should take advantage of, as the Jets have some players who would be of great help to their lineup. Let’s now take a look at each of them.
After the 2021-22 regular season, Mark Scheifele told reporters that he needed to have a talk with management over his future with the organization. Naturally, that raised some eyebrows about his potential availability this summer. Although the star center has yet to officially request a trade, it’s clear that he wants to play for a contender and is hoping Winnipeg can become just that. Yet, if he’s unhappy with general manager (GM) Kevin Cheveldayoff’s plan for the team and decides he wants out, the Bruins need to jump into the sweepstakes.
When David Krejci left the Bruins to play back home in the Czech Republic, the team was left with a major hole down the middle. At times, there’s no question that Erik Haula filled in nicely on the second line. Yet, if the Bruins want to help their chances of going on one last long playoff run, they need to at least consider pursuing a top-of-the-line center like Scheifele. The 29-year-old just put together a 70-point campaign in 67 games, and adding that kind of offense to the top six would be massive. Furthermore, if Patrice Bergeron retires, it only adds the need to target a player like Scheifele.
Although Scheifele would fill a massive need for the Bruins down the middle, it would cost the team a lot to acquire him. This is because he’s not only an excellent player but also has an affordable $6.125 million cap hit until the completion of the 2023-24 season. Furthermore, the Jets are not a rebuilding squad and likely would want some NHL-caliber talent along with a prospect in this kind of blockbuster. Perhaps a package of a first-round pick, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Jack Studnicka could get a deal done.
In a perfect world, the Jets would love to keep Pierre-Luc Dubois for a very long time. The 23-year-old just put together a very strong season in 2021-22, as he had 28 goals and 32 assists in 81 games. However, as Elliotte Friedman reported last month, Winnipeg might be forced to move the Quebec native if they are unable to agree to a long-term extension. This is because he is only two years away from being able to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and could have plans to test the market. If he’s only willing to sign a deal until then and is made available, the Bruins should consider targeting him.
Like Scheifele, Dubois would be a perfect addition to help with the team’s weak center depth. Yet, another great element about his game is that he offers immense versatility. Due to this, he is capable of playing all three forward positions if needed, so he would give the Bruins several options if acquired. Furthermore, with him being so young, he still has the potential to get even better as he continues to gain more experience.
Dubois would also bring the Jets in a pretty sizable package in a potential swap. Although he has yet to produce offensively at the same level as Scheifele, his age and strong all-around game make him have a lot of trade value. If DeBrusk’s trade request is still on the table, he could be the main roster player who heads the other way. Along with that, a second-round pick, Mike Reilly, and a top prospect could potentially get the deal done.
After recording 25 points in 56 games with the Jets during the 2020-21 season, Mason Appleton was unsurprisingly selected at the 2021 Expansion Draft by the Seattle Kraken. Yet, he found himself right back in Winnipeg at the trade deadline, as the Jets gave up their 2023 fourth-round pick to reacquire him. However, after recording just four points in 19 games with the team following the trade, perhaps they could listen to offers for him this summer.
Appleton could be a solid addition to the Bruins’ roster. With Curtis Lazar and Anton Blidh both being pending UFAs, there is a good chance that the team will end up losing some important forward depth. If the former were to leave, Appleton would be a perfect replacement for him on the fourth line. That is still the case whether he plays center or right wing. Furthermore, he also would offer the Bruins more insurance for when players in their top nine are struggling.
When looking at how Appleton didn’t have the strongest of finishes to the regular season, it would be shocking to see the Bruins give up anything more than a fourth-round pick in a potential swap. The Green Bay-native didn’t raise his trade value during the final months of the year. Yet, when looking at the solid secondary scoring he provided for the Jets just last season, there’s reason to believe a bounce-back campaign could be in order. Thus, in my opinion, he is a player worth taking a chance on.
Alas, it will be interesting to see if the Bruins and Jets end up striking a deal this summer. Adding either Scheifele or Dubois would be massive, but there’s no question that it would also cost them a lot. However, even if they added a solid depth player in Appleton, fans wouldn’t have much to complain about.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.