This will be the 4th season for the Jets 2.0 and the only roster moves made since the draft and free agency were letting Olli Jokinen walk and signing Mathieu Perreault. The Perreault signing IMO was a great move, but not enough of a significant impact to change their fortunes for the upcoming season. When you play in a division with Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota, Colorado and Nashville, playoff aspirations seem like a dream instead of a reality. Everyone in their division made improvements so far this off-season and we haven't even discussed the moves made in the Pacific either, so a wild card entry in the playoffs seems unlikely as well.
The current 23 man lineup consists of 14 players from the Atlanta Thrashers, 2 from trades, 2 Winnipeg drafted, 3 free agent signing and 2 waiver claims. When the team was moved from Atlanta, drafting and patience was the route the new ownership and management were selling to the fans. That's fine and I can respect, that but let us take a look a little deeper into the actual construction of this Jets team starting the 14 holdovers from the previous regime in Atlanta.
Atlanta 1st round draft picks- Brian Little, Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jim Slater
Other draft picks- Tobias Enstrom, Ondrej Pavelec and Paul Postma
Trades- Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Stuart, Eric O'Dell, Chris Thorburn and Patrice Cormier
* I have left out Alexander Burmistrov due to him signing in the KHL*
You will notice that several of the key players on the Jets were acquired mostly through trades and first round picks during the Atlanta days. Now here are the Jets added to the roster after the move.
1st round picks-Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba
Other draft picks-none (too early to judge)
Free agency- Mathieu Perreault, Adam Pardy and Michael Hutchinson
Trades-Michel Frolik and Eric Tangradi
Waiver claims-Grant Clitsome and Anthony Peluso
In 3+ seasons the Jets have acquired only 2 players via trade, while in the last 3 seasons in Atlanta the organization added 7 players.
So why isn't Kevin Cheveldayoff making some trades to improve this team? He has been sitting and waiting not really doing a whole lot, but now is the time to make a move.There has been lots of talk that Evander Kane wants to be traded and I say trade him. If you want to keep him for this upcoming season that's fine, but know there will be this cloud of speculation hovering over the organization for the entire season. A change of scenery isn't a bad thing and in no way am I saying Kane is a bad hockey player. It just seems like now would be the best time to move on from this relationship. Kane still has enough allure and potential to land a nice return to acquire several pieces to make this team better now and in the future.
Another player that should get some consideration for being moved is Dustin Byfuglien. After Paul Maurice became head coach midway through last season (although Claude Noel played him on the wing the last game he coached the team), Big Buff was moved to the wing after playing the previous 3+ seasons on defense, logging 23+ minutes a night. His desire is to play on the back end, yet the Jets feel he is more suited to play up front with the emergence of Jacob Trouba. With so many teams looking for a right handed defenseman that can log heavy minutes, why do you keep him around playing less minutes at an inflated salary on the wing and QB the powerplay? His AAV of 5.2 mil for the next 2 seasons is pretty reasonable, so a good return wouldn't be out of the question.
If these 2 players do get moved, I believe it would bring some players into the organization that will help not only now but moving forward as well. There are several players that can/will contribute in a couple of years. Adam Lowry, Nic Petan, Scott Kosmachuk, J.C Lipon and recent 1st rounder Nikolaj Ehlers are solid options up front, with former 1st rounder Josh Morrissey and Brenden Kichton on the back end and goalies Eric Comrie and Conner Hellebuyck.
The future is bright yet looks dim at the moment. Jets fans have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for something to happen but it's looking like they will have to wait longer. I wonder if Conner McDavid and Jack Eichel are 2 reasons why there hasn't been any roster improvements? Just saying