The Winnipeg Jets may be the only Canadian team in the second round of the playoffs at the moment, as they currently face the Nashville Predators, but they will be facing other and much bigger changes during the summer, just like most of the other Canadian clubs. While the Jets may be enjoying success in the postseason after an impressive regular calendar run, it appears that key pieces of these accomplishments will not be back for the next season.
During another greatly interesting 31 Thoughts podcast on Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman hinted at quite a few dilemmas in Winnipeg for the offseason, as cited by Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports Network.
“The other thing too is Winnipeg, what do you think HelleBuyck is going to make now. Like you know Laine is going to be a big number, and you know Trouba is going to be a big number. But all of the sudden you’re looking at Hellebucyk and what’s his number going to be.”
Co-Host Jeff Marek couldn't resists and asked his colleague if the Jets were going to be a cap team.
“They’re going to have no choice,” replied Friedman. “Here’s the other one: Wheeler is going to be 34 when he signs his new deal. What do you do there? He was on my Hart ballot this year.”
Wheeler is quite the leader in Winnipeg and it is hard to imagine that he would be trade this summer. The veteran forward is slated for free agency next summer, and hold a modified no-trade clause in his current deal.
For now, we are pretty sure the Jets are keeping focus on their push this impressive playoff run, but Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff knows all too well that the players who managed to create this stellar season will have to be paid in this salary cap world.
The good news is that, for now, superstar Patrik Laine has another season remaining on his entry-level deal. However, defenseman Jacob Trouba and star goalie Connor Hellebuyck are both set to become restricted free agents this summer, and they hold the arbitration hammer as well...
No matter what happens in this second round series against the Predators, it looks like the summer will be full of speculation in Winnipeg.