Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Ondrej Pavelec – I always thought Jet fans were a little too hard on him until I watched him give up that Barrett Jackman floater late in the season at the end of the third period in a game the Jets really needed to win.  Pavelec came in to relieve Michael Hutchinson and was all-worldly until that stinker.  He makes $3.9-million and I think that’s fair price for him.  Are there better goalies?  Sure.  But, at $6.5-million or whatever it would take to get a firm upgrade, I’m good with Pavelec for now.

Michael Hutchinson – Young guy, not heralded however, I felt, a bit overrated as Jet fans were looking for someone to unseat Pavelec.  It’s almost like the Saskatchewan Roughriders always wanting the back-up quarterback to be the starter.  If you accept Hutchinson as a decent back-up, who can play about 30 games so your starter isn’t worn out come playoff time, then you have to like Hutchinson.  I don’t see him ever being an NHL workhorse.  Glove hand has to get better.

Dustin Byfuglien – He’s got one year left on his contract and while he’s worth the price of admission, I’d trade him.  He’s never going to be better than he is now.  The Jets have seen him at his peak.  He will not be worth the dollars that he will expect to be paid next summer.  He is, exactly, the type of player that screw up your salary structure.  The Jets were also a more disciplined team when he was out of the line-up.

Tyler Myers – Analytic disciples ignore the fact Myers was the worst player in the NHL at the time of the Buffalo trade.  This is why analytics can be a useful tool for some things, but it’s not the be-all end-all of evaluating.  Myers passed the eye ball test in his first game with the Jets and has the potential to win a Norris Trophy.  A steal of a deal even if Evander Kane becomes a first line all-star forward.

Jacob Trouba – I thought he took a bit of a step back this year.  There were times I felt he tried to do too much and he’s just not that good yet.  He’s going to be real good for a lot of years, but I think it would serve him well if he stopped reading his own headlines. 

Tobias Enstrom – Everyone says he’s the perfect trade bait, but I will only agree if one of Josh Morrissey or Jan Kostelak show to be ready.  Enstrom ended up real valuable when Byfuglien was out of the line-up and when Trouba struggled.  He can be under-appreciated because he doesn’t do any one thing over the top well.  He’s just a real, solid defenseman who can put up a bit of offense.

Mark Stuart – As long as you don’t have to move him into a top four role, he’s good.  He did seem to take the odd bad penalty at the worst possible time every so often; but who doesn’t.  A good depth player who deserves a regular role.

Ben Chiarot – When the Jets were ravaged with injuries on defense, Chiarot was called up from the AHL and made himself a crucial member of the blueline even after everyone was healthy.  Then, he, himself, got hurt and he didn’t end the year as well as he started it.  Still, I see him being a tough guy to take out of a regular spot next season.

Adam Pardy – Paul Maurice turned him into a player.  Again, he’s no more than depth material but when you can turn to him when several others are in sick bay, you are in decent hands. 

Jay Harrison – Played well when given the chance, but he’s no better than a depth player.

Paul Postma – I think he could help somebody, but it’s not the Jets.  They have too many players ahead of him.

Grant Clitsome – Will be hard to work his way back into the mix after missing most of the year with an injury.  Depth player, at best.

Andrew Ladd – Solid captain, plays the game the right way.  He was, clearly, injured in the playoffs and we didn’t see what he is capable of.  There isn’t any one area of his game where the Jets can say they need more from him.  I think the Jets will make him more of a priority than Byfuglien before next summer.

Bryan Little – He was also injured in the playoffs and wasn’t as effective as he normally is.  When healthy, he can be one of the better forwards in the NHL.  He’s underrated, even amongst players on his own team.  The Jets missed him dearly when he was injured.  He’s crucial to their offense.

Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg’s best player from start to finish last year.  He’s a competitor.  He skates very well.  He’s clutch.  Every team needs a Wheeler.  Too bad the Jets didn’t have 7 or 8 of them!

Mathieu Perreault – Another player who was a shadow of his usual self in the playoffs.  He looked like a big-time sniper when he was healthy.  I’m not convinced he can do it again, but he was amazing at his peak.

Mark Scheifele – He made some strides, but if the Jets are thinking he’s got a future as a first liner they will be disappointed.  I think he’s a decent second liner and an outstanding third liner on a Stanley Cup contender.  He had a bit more grit to him toward the end of the season, which I liked.

Drew Stafford – I hope the Jets can get him signed.  He’s a perfect second line player, who can sub as a first liner in the event of injuries.  You could see how much he liked winning after getting out of Buffalo.

Michael Frolik – I don’t think the Jets need him as badly as many seem to think.  They’ve got players who can fill his role and I was expecting a bit more offense from him.  Still, the Jets are going to make a push to keep him around.  Someone will overpay.  Hopefully not Winnipeg.

Adam Lowry – The kid has got a real future as a second line power forward type.  He plays the game the right way in all facets at all times.  He never takes a shift off.  He’s a fan favorite and for good reason.  If the offense takes the next step, the Jets will be the envy of the league for having him on the roster.

Chris Thorburn – You have to watch him to appreciate him.  All teams need guys who can play fourth line minutes and not hurt you.  Thorburn is one of these and, in an emergency, can play third line.

Matt Halischuk – I think the Jets are okay if they employ him as a fourth liner and nothing else.  Otherwise, it means the Jets aren’t deep enough up front.

Jim Slater – He’s been with the organization for a long time and I think he’s served his purpose.  Time to move on.

Lee Stempniak – Guys like Stempniak make me nervous.  They always seem to show well when the contract is up and they need a new one.  The Jets wanted him before and missed out, so they’ve liked him for awhile.  Still, I wouldn’t go there for 2016.

Jiri Tlusty – Wasn’t a bad pick up when the injuries were insurmountable; but he isn’t the type of player I see the Jets getting in line to sign this summer.

Anthony Peluso – He’s already got a new two year deal.  Not sure why.

As far as potential prospects next year, I’d be surprised if Morrissey or Kostelak make the grade.  The Jets are deep on defense as it is and there is no need to rush a rookie.  While I don’t expect them to, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see them trade Hutchinson to a club that views him as a starter and that would open the door for Connor Hellebuyck, who had several shining moments in the AHL this past season.  Nikolaj Ehlers looks like a shoe-in for a roster spot up front, while Nic Petan is bound for the AHL. 

It would never happen, but a trade that could help both teams would be a Byfuglien to Edmonton deal that could also include Hutchinson and maybe a player like Draisaitl along with Jordan Eberle. 

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