Last season, the Winnipeg Jets made quite the splash at the February trade deadline when the Canadian team landed star forward Paul Statsny from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a first-round draft pick, a fourth-round draft pick and prospect Erik Foley, and made quite the push to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final. So, what did general Kevin Cheveldayoff learn from this?
You bet, the Jets need to improve his squad for the playoff run. Again.
The trade deadline is less than seven weeks away, and the Jets are looking at the best way possible to bolster their roster, despite currently sitting on top of the Central Division. They cannot be stopped. And while we might try to guess which player could be used as a rental boost ahead of the trade deadline, Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press has shocked many by suggesting the Jets go after an unexpected trade target: Matt Duchene of the Ottawa Senators. The Jets are hoping to bolster at the centre-ice position and Duchene could become their number one target.
"Go big or go home, right? Duchene is probably the biggest fish in the pond, and the Ottawa Senators' asking price may be too rich. But Cheveldayoff should at least be finding out what it might take to get him to Winnipeg.
Just imagine a one-two punch up the middle with Mark Scheifele and Duchene, with Bryan Little and Adam Lowry as your bottom-six centres. Yeah, that's the stuff of Stanley Cup dreams right there. It would actually trump last season's Stastny acquisition.
This would be a pure rental, of course. But for a player with just eight post-season games on his resumé, you have to think Duchene is desperate to help carry a team to the promised land. Why not Winnipeg?"
McIntyre also suggests centre Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild and Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers, however the latter has gone back and forth on the market as the Blue Shirts appear unsure of his future. Staal could be tempted to finish his career on a high. After all, he is a Stanley Cup champion who grew up about 700 kilometres east of Bell MTS Place, and his experience could greatly benefit the Jets.
Winnipeg might also be looking to improve on the back end, therefore McIntyre wonders if Cheveldayoff will target Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings or St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester. The Kings are guaranteed to be sellers, and Muzzin has been on the market for a while. The veteran blue liner is a former Cup champion and could bring experience to the Jets' roster.
Go big or go home, right, Jets?