Recently it was announced that the Winnipeg Jets signed Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year extension with an AAV of $7.6 million, bringing the contract to a total of $38 million. It was a number that had been bandied about for quite some time as the team was trying to come to terms with the big defenseman. While this is a good move for Byfuglien, where does this put the rest of the Winnipeg Jets? How adversely is this going to effect the team in the short term?
— Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTSS) February 8, 2016
Looking at the players on this list, you have to admit that Byfuglien has a good argument in putting himself in the top echelon of defenders in this league, at least from an advanced stats perspective. What could and should have scared the Jets was the age of Byfuglien and the type of player that he is. As a big bruising defensemen, it is going to be a tough pace to keep up over the course of this contract. What also needs to be evaluated is the fact that Byfuglien will now be the third highest paid defensemen in the league. While good, is he really worth that much money?
So that very likely means the end of Andrew Ladd's time in Winnipeg. Move him to the top of the trade deadline rental list.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 8, 2016
The Jets have a fair amount of cap room and could possibly re-sign Ladd but that means they will have a lot of money tied up in some aging assets. Ladd looks to be deadline fodder for a team looking to get over the hump. The team that has been brought up as a match is the Florida Panthers that have a lot of cap space and may even have the chance to re-sign him. It helps that Dale Tallon, formerly with the Blackhawks, has a relationship with the player which adds more intrigue to the situation.
Jacob Trouba could be another casualty after this deal as the team looks to be set on right handed defensemen with Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. Myers doesn’t have the potential or numbers of Trouba but he is set at a good enough price that I can’t see them picking Trouba over him. So if Trouba is going to be traded where could he go? The move that makes the most sense seems to be Trouba for Travis Hamonic, who is looking to be closer to home. Trouba isn’t on Hamonic’s level just yet but has the potential to get there and on one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
This signing has the makings of a cataclysmic shift within the Jets locker room but that remains to be seen. Do I think all of these players will be on the Jets come trade deadline? No. I do think that the Jets will take their time and make the right decision for the franchise like they did in signing Byfuglien. Now the question that must be answered by Cheveldayoff is, who stays and who goes? Interesting times in Manitoba.