Will the Winnipeg Jets Start Over This Offseason?

With the Winnipeg Jets losing 3-0 against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night on the road, Winnipeg has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Jets have made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last four years before missing it this year. It feels like they may have hit their ceiling and they might tear it all down.

Winnipeg has a lot of players on bad contracts. They could receive a ton of draft capital and prospects for these players. The Jets might be able to receive some players that are NHL ready also. Paul Maurice stepped down as the teams’ head coach earlier in the season. Dave Lowry has been the interim head coach and it is very possible he does not stay past this year.

Kevin Cheveldayoff has been the Winnipeg Jets general manager for the past decade. It is very possible that he decides to resign or Winnipeg decides to fire him. It is going to be a very big offseason in determining what to do with this hockey team.

The Winnipeg Jets are currently in sixth place in the Central Division in the Western Conference with a 35-31-11 record with 81 points so far this season. Let’s take a look at the big contracts that are currently on Winnipeg’s roster.

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is only 28 years old. He is still in the prime of his NHL career. Hellebuyck will be owed $6.16 million for the next two years after this year. There will be teams calling for his services if available via trade. In 64 games so far this season, his record is 27-27-10 with a .909 save percentage and a 3.03 GAA, along with four shutouts.

Teams that could use his services: New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators.

Eric Comrie is a RFA after this season for the Jets. They would probably re-sign him. Comrie is 26 years old. He has appeared in 16 games so far this season for Winnipeg. His record is 8-4-1 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.69 GAA, along with zero shutouts.

Defenseman: Joshua Morrisey will have a cap hit of $6.25 million every year until after the 2027-2028 season. Nate Schmidt will have three years left on his contract and will have a cap hit of $5.95 million every year until then. Neal Ponk will also have three years left on his contract and will have a $5.875 cap hit every year until then as well.

Forwards: Captain Blake Wheeler is currently 35 years old and he could be the number one trade guy for them in the offseason. Wheeler will have a $8.25 million cap hit for the next two years. In 60 games so far this season, he has scored 13 goals and has recorded 42 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of -17.

Teams that could use his services: Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Washington Capitals.

Paul Stastny’s $3.75 million cap hit will come off the books and the Winnipeg Jets probably won’t re-sign him.

Mark Scheifele will have a $6.125 million cap hit for the next two years after this one. He is 29 years old and is in the prime of his career. Winnipeg could also get a haul of players back for him. Scheifele has played in 67 games so far this season for them. He has scored 29 goals and has recorded 41 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of -17.

Teams that could use his services: New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, and St. Louis Blues.

Adam Lowry will have a $3.25 million cap hit until after the 2025-2026 season.

Pierre-Luc Dubois will have his $5 million cap hit off the books this offseason. He will be a RFA. Winnipeg probably won’t re-sign him either.

Nikolaj Ehelers will have a $6 million cap hit for the next three years. Ehelers is only 26 years old. He has played in 57 games so far this season. Nikolaj Ehelers has scored 26 goals and has recorded 25 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of -17.

Kyle Connor will have a $7.1 million cap hit until after the 2025-2026 season. He is only 25 years old. Connor has played in 74 games so far this season. He has scored 43 goals and has recorded 44 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of -4.

In conclusion to all of this, the Winnipeg Jets are going to break up some of the core players and make changes. They are going to need to unload some contracts, especially on the blue line also.

Players that will be traded this offseason: Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck, Nate Schmidt, and Neal Pionk.

Players that will not be re-signed: Pierre-Luc Dubois and Paul Stastny.

Players that will be re-signed: Eric Comrie.

Players that are untouchable in trade talks: Joshua Morrisey, Nikolaj Ehelers, Kyle Connor, and Cole Perfetti.

The Winnipeg Jets also have one of the better farm systems in all of the NHL. By unloading a lot of contracts and getting a lot in return, they can reset and potentially reach a higher ceiling one day. The furthest they went in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with this core was the 2018 Western Conference against the Vegas Golden Knights, where the Winnipeg Jets lost in five games also.

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