The Winnipeg Jets have made many moves this offseason that will benefit the team for the 2020-21 season. Whether it be a signing, a trade, or drafting, they had a game plan heading in and followed it very well.
This article gives a grade to the Jets in four different categories, which include drafting, trading, re-signing, and unrestricted free agent signing.
The Jets went in to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft with the 10th-overall pick and a chance to draft a great player with plenty of upside. Little did they know that they were going to get the young stud from the Saginaw Spirit, Cole Perfetti.
Perfetti was ranked anywhere from fourth to eighth overall before he fell to the Jets at 10th. He is an outstanding puck mover that is able to create time and space for his teammates to get in scoring position before he passes the puck their way. Sounds like someone who would be perfect to play with Finnish sniper, Patrik Laine. Maybe the drafting of Perfetti will force Laine to want to stay with the Jets. Since the draft, Perfetti has recently signed his entry-level contract with the club, as most early first-round draft picks do.
In the second round, the Jets went on to select the big Swedish winger, Daniel Torgersson. He is a big body who is tough to move off of the puck and skates well for a player of his size. The Jets finished the two-day event by selecting Anton Johanneson in the fifth round and Tyrel Bauer in the sixth.
Overall, with the team’s first pick of Perfetti and solid selection with Torgersson, the Jets were close to an outstanding draft. Due to their lack of picks by only selecting four players in total, they did what they could and ultimately got an A- performance.
The Jets have only made one trade in the offseason so far and it was a great one for the club. They acquired Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Carl Dahlstrom and a 2022 fourth-round selection. This trade is good for the Jets for many reasons.
Trading for Stastny gives the team a second-line centre heading into the 2020-21 season. With the injury of Bryan Little and the lack of second-line centre talent on the team, Stastny is the perfect fit.
He also is a perfect solution to a short-term problem. With Perfetti potentially stepping up as that second-line centre in the 2021-22 or 2022-23 season, Stastny can fill the hole until then. He only has a one-year contract and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, so Jets fans hope that Perfetti can make the jump in 2021-22.
Lastly, it potentially reunites a line for the Jets that did great in the 2017-18 Playoff run. The Nikolaj Ehlers, Stastny, and Laine line produced very well and was one of the bright spots for the team. Hopefully, a familiar face in between those two young players will give them the push they need to have career seasons.
The reason that this trade is not an A grade is the fact that there could have been other options out there. One option that could have been interesting was moving Blake Wheeler to centre for the year and signing a player like Mike Hoffman or Anthony Duclair in free agency. This would make the Jets first line Mark Schiefele, Kyle Connor, and Laine. The second line would consist of Wheeler, Ehlers, and either Hoffman/Duclair.
Contract Extensions: A
The Jets’ biggest extension of the offseason was handed out to defenseman Dylan Demelo for an average of $3 million for four years. This was a great signing for the squad, as it ultimately rounds out their top four and potentially gives Josh Morrissey a partner on the blue line.
Other notable extensions include Nathan Beaulieu, Laurent Brossoit, Jansen Harkins, Sami Niku, and Mason Appleton.
Harkins and Appleton are great re-signings for the club, as they round out the bottom-six forwards perfectly. They both provide a fire in their games that makes them tough to play against in the offensive and defensive zone. Both players drafted in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft have the chance to stand out this season and are finally hitting their stride.
The Jets deserve an A grade in this category because no one they re-signed was overpaid and they let go of the players that they needed to, such as d-man Dimitri Kulikov.
UFA Signings: C+
Thompson provides the Jets with the depth that they need at centre. He is a veteran who has some experience and can play on the fourth line or come in and out of the lineup as needed. When he does play, he will provide the team with veteran leadership and the grit that is needed to wear other teams down night in and night out.
Forbort is the same type of player, as he is a tough and physical. He has the potential to play top-four minutes for the squad, but could fall down to the bottom pairing. He is not very offensive, but is great defensively and can lay a hit and spark the team when needed.
The Jets were given a C+ grade in this category due to none of the players they signed being big names.
Overall, the Jets did very well in this offseason. The drafting of Perfetti, acquisition of Stastny, and re-signing of Demelo will provide the team with the potential to make the playoffs and make a run for the 2020-21 Stanley Cup.