The Winnipeg Jets have already lost quite a bit of their talent on their blueline as the team has already lost Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Ben Chiarot this offseason with little in return other than Neal Pionk. However, because Pionk filed for arbitration (along with Andrew Copp) on Friday, the Jets could lose another defenseman off their roster.
The Athletic’s Murat Ates (subscription required) points out that Pionk and Copp filing for arbitration opens up a second buyout window for Winnipeg in three weeks, which might suggest that the Jets could consider buying out defenseman Dmitry Kulikov when that happens. The 28-year-old defenseman, who has one year remaining on his deal at $4.33MM, has not worked out like the team had hoped and there are questions whether he could fulfill the role of a top-four defenseman now that the team has holes to fill.
Kulikov has played just 119 games over two seasons, often sitting as a healthy scratch and has just three goals and 17 points in those two seasons. The team may want to consider letting Kulikov, which would save the team $2.89MM in cap savings for this year, something that could be used towards acquiring another defenseman. Of course, the Jets could just as easily decide that he can play in their top four and keep him, but it’s a legitimate option Winnipeg can consider over the next three weeks.
- Staying with the Jets, the Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen writes that the losses Brandon Tanev (to Pittsburgh) and Chiarot (to Montreal) are more critical losses than people think. Those two players were ranked first and second, respectively on the Jets’ squad last year in hits. Tanev led the team with 278 hits, while Chiarot finished with 171. That’s a significant amount of physicality the team lost. Blocked shots aren’t any better as the team’s top two leaders in that category were lost as well, including Trouba (to New York Rangers) who had 171 blocks, while Chiarot was second on the team with 139. That could be a bad sign for the team’s overall defense.
- The Athletic’s Tony Abbott (subscription required) projects the Minnesota Wild’s early depth chart after the Wild went out and signed forwards Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman. The team possesses quite a bit of depth and the one player that could find himself without a job is Victor Rask. The 26-year-old forward, who was acquired in the unpopular trade involving Nino Niederreiter with Carolina, could find himself outside the team’s top 12 next season and he will be making $4MM next season. Rask struggled mightily when he got to Minnesota, posting just two goals and three points in 23 games.
- The Colorado Avalanche had high expectations for prospect Connor Timmins at the start of the season. Unfortunately, the team lost him to a concussion for the entire season. While he’s shown some signs of practicing with the team during the playoffs in a non-contact jersey, The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark (subscription required) reports that Timmins was a full participant at the team’s development camp recently and was, in fact, was one of the standouts there. The next step is to see how he performs in the preseason. Timmins, the team’s 2017 second-round pick, will likely play a full season in with the Colorado Eagles of the AHL next season.