With the transaction freeze now just over an hour away, the Jets appear to be trying to move a player that’s likely to be left unprotected from Seattle as Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reports (Twitter link) that they are shopping winger Mason Appleton.
The 25-year-old secured a full-time spot with Winnipeg for the first time this past season and certainly made the most of it, posting career highs across the board with 12 goals and 13 assists in 56 games while averaging 14:25 per night, primarily suiting up on their third line. He chipped in with three more points in eight postseason contests. However, while the Jets would like to protect Appleton, he’s likely to be the odd forward out when they submit their protection list to the NHL later today.
[Related: Jets Expansion Primer]
Appleton has one more year left on his deal with a more than reasonable $900K price tag which is something that most teams around the league will be able to afford. While his overall track record isn’t the longest (just 138 career NHL games), the success he had on what was an effective third line for Winnipeg should be enough to generate some interest in his services.
Of course, one of those teams should be Seattle which is why he’s a contender to become a member of the Kraken if he’s not dealt. The question now for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will be if a possible return for Appleton is high enough to justify moving him and losing another player off their roster or if they’re better off just losing him on Wednesday during the expansion draft. We’ll find out one way or the other within the next hour.