Any way you look at things, the 2019-20 season was a disappointing one for the Winnipeg Jets. Just a couple seasons ago the the team was looked at as a top Stanley Cup contender in the NHL's Western Conference. But this past season the team limped into the Playoff Qualifiers and bowed out to the Calgary Flames with little fight, thanks mostly to a blueline corps that has been decimated by the departures of Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba.
When this team boasted Big Buff and Trouba on the backend with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine and Nik Ehlers up front, they were a scary, scary team. Throw Connor Hellebuyck in the net and you can see why many fans and analysts had the Jets as their Cup favourite in recent seasons. But, if this season proved nothing else it's that the losses of Byfuglien and Trouba were simply too great to overcome. And that's with Hellebuyck putting in a Vezina Trophy worthy performance.
No doubt about it, changes are needed as there's no way the Jets can come back in 2020-21 with that same blueline corps. TSN hockey insider Frank Seravalli reports that indeed changes are coming and that snipers Laine and Ehlers will be on the trade block to hopefully bring in some defensive help.
Of course, this isn't the first time that Laine and Ehlers have had their names bandied about in trade talks. Laine, in particular, is seemingly in just about every trade rumour out of Winnipeg these days. The 22 year old former 2nd overall pick put up 28 goals and 63 points in 68 games for the Jets this past season, but he has true 50 goal scorer potential written all over him. The big Finnish winger has maybe the best shot in the entire NHL and looks poised to take over for Alex Ovechkin as the NHL's top sniper. Whether that happens in Winnipeg or elsewhere though remains to be seen.
As for Ehlers, the speedy Dane put up 25 goals and 58 points in 71 games for the Jets this season and, frankly, is one of the most underrated forwards in the entire NHL. Together, the pair of Laine and Ehlers could fetch a legitimate #1 defenseman and then some on the trade market. Buckle up, Jets fans... it could be an interesting offseason.