The Winnipeg Jets will be in the market for defensemen when the trade freeze is lifted in a few days. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke with NHL.com, explaining that the team is looking to improve the back end through trades or free agency, even though they have several young defensemen in the system already. Jordie Benn, Derek Forbort, and Tucker Poolman are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
There’s also the possibility that Dylan DeMelo is selected by the Seattle Kraken, leaving the Jets even more shorthanded. Currently, the team has just DeMelo, Josh Morrissey, Nathan Beaulieu, and Sami Niku under one-way contracts for next season. Logan Stanley and Neal Pionk are both restricted free agents, while Ville Heinola, who could be in line for a full-time role, is still on his entry-level contract. Even if that whole group was brought back, it simply wasn’t good enough to help the Jets really contend for the Stanley Cup, meaning a more substantial change could be in order.
- The Seattle Kraken are reportedly considering a select-and-trade with St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, but Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest tweets that it could get even more complicated than that. Strickland suggests a third team could be involved in any Tarasenko trade were the Kraken to choose him. That would open up the door for even more salary retention, potentially giving someone the 29-year-old forward at a bargain. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic spoke with the doctor that performed Tarasenko’s most recent shoulder surgery, who explained that it is “rock solid” and suggested the sniper would be at full strength for the start of the 2021-22 season.
- Strickland also tweets that the Blues have serious interest in New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich, who is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent this summer for the final time. Buchnevich is now 26, just a year away from UFA status, and appeared on Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff’s list of trade targets last week, with the scribe writing that Rangers GM Chris Drury has “engaged in conversation about the possibility of moving” him. With 20 goals and 48 points in 54 games this season, Buchnevich has blossomed into a true top-six option that could potentially replace some of the outgoing firepower in St. Louis. It’s not just Tarasenko that could be leaving the Blues, as Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Bozak are also all pending UFAs.