Keys to the Winnipeg Jets’ offseason, updates on Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara plus the latest speculations on the Edmonton Oilers.
What next for the Winnipeg Jets?
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance believes the Winnipeg Jets should re-sign pending UFA winger Drew Stafford and add more offensive depth, re-sign defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a contract extension and ink blueliner Jacob Trouba to a long-term deal this summer. Custance reports the Jets hope to re-sign pending UFA forward Michael Frolik, plus they have decisions to make regarding pending UFAs Jiri Tlusty, Lee Stempniak and Jim Slater.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I certainly agree the Jets must re-sign Stafford, Byfuglien and Trouba. All were important factors in the Jets performance this season. The trio won’t be cheap to re-sign but it’s necessary to spend to keep the core intact. If they’re going to pursue more offense they’ll likely part ways with Tlusty, Stempniak and Slater. They could also bid farewell to Frolik if he proves too costly to retain.
Updates on Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty suggests the Edmonton Oilers making Bob Nicholson their CEO and Connor McDavid certain to be headed to the Oilers means there’s a good chance they’ll make Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle available. He feels trading Milan Lucic for a young gun like Hall or Eberle is something the Boston Bruins must consider. He also claims there’s indications the Bruins have “kept the door open” with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding trade talks for Joffrey Lupul, though the Leafs will have to pick up half of the oft-injured Lupul’s salary.
Haggerty also speculates on the possibility of the Bruins trading captain Zdeno Chara, wondering if Chara’s recently acquiring a real-estate license could mean he’s unsure about his place with the Bruins. Haggerty also suggests the departure of former GM Peter Chiarelli could make it easier for Chara to waive his no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, it was reported Oilers GM Craig MacTavish told Hall, Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins they won’t be dealt. I doubt that’s changed with Nicholson as CEO and McDavid coming to Edmonton. I also don’t think the Oilers talking with former Bruins GM Chiarelli will affect that. If they were to trade Hall or Eberle, it won’t be for a player who’s a year away from UFA status unless they have assurances he’ll re-sign with them. Ultimately, I don’t see a Lucic for Hall or Eberle trade taking place. As for Lupul, I’m sure the Leafs will be very happy to pick up part of his salary to send him to the Bruins.
Regarding Chara, unless he wants to be moved I don’t think the Bruins are ready to part ways with him. Yes, he’s aging and his performance is in decline but moving him out still leaves a big hole on defense which will be difficult to replace. I also doubt the Bruins will get as significant a return as some observers think. Chara is a depreciating asset and that affects his trade value.
Latest on the Oilers.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently suggested it would make sense for the Edmonton Oilers to trade their other first-round pick in his year’s draft (received from the Penguins in the David Perron trade), or perhaps a player like Nail Yakupov, to a team looking to cut salary on defense this summer. Custance also feels they should target a good young goalie like the New York Rangers’ Cam Talbot or the Los Angeles Kings’ Martin Jones.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis cites a recent radio interview by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish in which he said he’d like to re-sign pending UFA center Derek Roy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think we’ll see the Oilers trade that first-round pick from the Penguins as trade bait to teams in need of shedding salary this summer. They could also shop their own second-round pick or the one they got from the Montreal Canadiens in the Jeff Petry deal. They don’t necessarily have to trade a player like Yakupov or a prospect like Draisaitl. Roy meshed well with Yakupov this season and could certainly be worthwhile bringing back on an affordable deal.