The Winnipeg Jets have quite a few of their franchise players under contract for the next four years, so the team is in a win-now mode. With all the injuries and distractions the team suffered during the 2019-20 season, many were thrilled that head coach Paul Maurice and the Jets even managed to make the playoffs. However, having just won two of their last six playoff series in the last few years, Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet writes that the Jets must make changes to their roster to return to the top of the Central Conference.
One way to do that, suggests the scribe, would be for the team to use what remaining cap room that it has and spend on a top free agent defenseman. There will potentially be a few difference-makers available and with the salary cap leveling out at $81.5MM, the Jets could take advantage of several cap-strapped teams and bring in a big-name player.
There are two key possibilities, including St. Louis Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo and Boston Bruins’ Torey Krug. Both are looking for big paydays and may have to look outside the organization unless their respective teams are ready to move out salary to accommodate them. Wiebe notes that Pietrangelo might be a better fit for the Jets as he is right-handed and would be a good fit leading the team’s power play. Both players could be persuaded to sign in Winnipeg with big short-term offers.
- Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said that defenseman Nikita Zadorov is expected to play tonight in Game 4 of their series against the Dallas Stars, according to Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound blueliner didn’t play during the third period of Game 3 on Wednesday due to an undisclosed injury, but is expected to be ready now. The 25-year-old had a goal and an assist in that game, but it will be his physical presence the team will need if Colorado hopes to even the series against Dallas.
- Speaking of the Stars, Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News reports that there has been a slight change in the status of starting goaltender Ben Bishop. The netminder skated, but remains unfit to play. The team, however, hasn’t been forced to rush Bishop back as backup Anton Khudobin is playing quite well in his place. Khudobin has a 6-4 record with a 2.75 GAA and a .913 save percentage. “Dobby’s been great, but listen, Bish is unfit to play,” said coach Rick Bowness. “It’s as simple as that. I think we’ll just leave it right there.”