The Winnipeg Jets are in a similar situation to what the Columbus Blue Jackets were in back in 2019
Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun: Back in 2019 the Columbus Blue Jackets gambled and kept then pending UFAs Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky past the trade deadline. Both left after the season for nothing. Not good asset management for a city that has trouble attracting and keeping top talent.
The 2023-24 Winnipeg Jets could be in the same scenario with goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and forward Mark Scheifele. The Jets can’t afford to lose them with no return. It doesn’t sound like there are any contract extensions with them.
Moving them now (depending on return) would make it even more challenging to make the playoffs this season.
If they remain and the Jets make the Stanley Cup final, the fallout wouldn’t be as bad if they got no return compared to if they left after a first or second-round knockout.
So many tough questions for the Jets now and potentially at the trade deadline.
The Edmonton Oilers should aim a little higher
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic: At the trade deadline or before, Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland should aim a little higher than he has in the past to find a center that could play up in the lineup effectively if the Oilers wanted to run Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl together.
Looking at some potential trade deadline targets who will be free agents after this season.
Adam Henrique – Anaheim Ducks – A $5.825 million cap hit. 35 percent of the time he’s playing 5v5 against elite opponents according to Puck IQ.
Elias Lindholm – Calgary Flames – Would be a perfect fit but a division rival and the asking price make it near impossible.
Jason Dickinson – Chicago Blackhawks – Would be a ‘worthy target’ and like Henrique, plays 35 percent five-on-five against elite opponents.
The Oilers being able to find a center that can play in the top-six could be the key to their playoff success.