When it comes to the NHL trade deadline, we’ve come to expect huge deals that shake up the league every season. In 2020-21, names like Taylor Hall, Mikael Granlund, and Rickard Rakell could change teams, and the Winnipeg Jets have many options on what they can do on deadline day.
The Jets don’t need to upgrade their forward core or their goaltending, but they could make a deal to bring a defenseman over to improve their blue line. Here’s a closer look at three defensemen who could boost Winnipeg’s playoff run and maybe even help next season. I’ll also take a look at what the Jets would have to give up to acquire one of these players.
Jets acquire Ekholm, Nashville Predators acquire 2021 first-round pick, Mathieu Perreault and Dylan Samberg
Ekholm is signed until the end of the 2021-22 season, which could be beneficial to the Jets, who are not looking to upgrade their defence just for a playoff run. He is the number one defenseman on the market and will be costly. He has a cap hit of only $3.75 million per season and could make an immediate difference on a weak Jets defence core.
If I was general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Predators agree to a first-round pick, Perreault and Samberg, I would have to consider it. But if Nashville asks for a player like Ville Heinola, Ekholm would not be worth the price. Heinola has the potential to be a top-two defenseman on the Jets as soon as next season.
Jets acquire Manson, Anaheim Ducks acquire 2021 first round draft pick, Mathieu Perreault and Kristian Vesalainen
Manson is similar to Ekholm in that he has an affordable contract and is signed for an additional season after this one. Incidentally, his father, Dave Manson, played a couple of seasons for the Jets 1.0.
The cost of acquiring a player like Manson should be less than Ekholm, due to the fact that he is a little bit more risky due to injuries. Manson has only played a full 82-game season once in his career, and he’s only played 11 games this season. The Jets would miss Vesalainen, but like Roslovic, head coach Paul Maurice has decided not to play the rookie.
I like this trade better because Manson fits the team mold a little bit better than Ekholm. He plays a simple game on the blue line and is a big and strong player.
Jets acquire Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets acquire 2021 and 2022 second round draft picks and Mathieu Perreault
With this deal, the Jets get a solid rental defenseman who can play a shutdown role in their top-four. Winnipeg also wouldn’t have to give up any first-round picks in the process. The teams are familiar with each other after the Patrik Laine for Pierre-Luc Dubois swap at the beginning of the shortened season.
Perreault is in this deal because he evens out the salary going both ways, which the Jets need. Overall, I believe that this is the best option for the Jets on trade deadline day. Winnipeg can upgrade their blue line for this season and allow players like Samberg and Heinola to step in as early as next season.
Will This Be Enough?
Lets start with who they have on the blue line. The players that will not be coming out of the lineup are Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk, Derek Forbort, or Dylan DeMelo. That leaves Tucker Poolman and Logan Stanley as potential guys who can be replaced for a playoff run. I believe that Stanley has done enough to stay in the lineup so it would be Poolman that has to exit. Let’s hope that the management decides to snatch a defensemen up at the deadline and takes Poolman out of the lineup. With this move, it could bode well for a struggling defensively team.
The Jets are Stanley Cup contenders this season. They have played well recently and have the ability to make a run. Their one question mark has always been their defence, but the addition of one of these three players would make a big difference game in and game out.
What should the Jets do at the trade deadline? Do they make a trade for one of these players? Do they trade for a different defender? Or do they stay put and use a player like Tucker Poolman and Logan Stanley more often? Let me know in the comments.
Hello my name is Isaiah Wagner and I am from Winnipeg. I am currently a Winnipeg Jets writer for The Hockey Writers. I am very excited to share my passion about hockey and the Jets with you!