Things have been quiet on the Connor Hellebuyck trade rumors front over the past few weeks. No teams have made serious offers for the pending UFA’s services since he reportedly informed interested teams he desired a $9.5MM AAV on a long-term extension. Without a trade in place, the Jets haven’t shut the door completely on trying to extend their franchise netminder. In a mailbag today, Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe says he believes Winnipeg has made a short-term, two-to-three-year extension offer to Hellebuyck, although it’s not something he suspects Hellebuyck’s camp would ever agree to.
Hellebuyck reportedly told Winnipeg he was unwilling to sign an extension in June, giving the Jets plenty of time to work out a deal. The team has had some interesting roster turnover this summer, though, getting a nice return package for Pierre-Luc Dubois that arguably upgraded their team in the short term. With a Western Conference that’s routinely anyone’s game aside from the few top dogs, it’s not out of the question the Jets return to the postseason in 2024 – maybe even with a better-equipped squad. As each day passes, it seems increasingly likely Hellebuyck will at least start next season in a Jets uniform. His primary goal remains winning a championship, so if Winnipeg can get off to a strong start with new faces in the fold, expect them to make a bigger push to keep Hellebuyck around after all.
Some other notes on the Jets from Wiebe:
- Speculatively, Wiebe threw some cold water on the idea of trading first-line center Mark Scheifele to the Boston Bruins, citing Boston’s tight salary cap picture and the uncertainty surrounding Hellebuyck as reasons why. With Scheifele’s less exorbitant demands on an extension, he’s likely the easier of the two to trade if they do reach that point. Also a pending UFA, Scheifele currently carries a cap hit of $6.125MM and is coming off a career-high 42 goals in 2022-23. Considering all the moving parts involved in a potential trade with the Bruins, it makes sense the Jets would rather wait and see what a potential Hellebuyck return brings them before discussing a Scheifele deal.
- Wiebe also believes the Jets may indeed sign RFA defenseman Logan Stanley before potentially honoring his trade request. As he notes, it’ll be a tough fit for Stanley to get consistent NHL time with Winnipeg next season after Dylan Samberg surpassed him on the depth chart last year. The 2016 first-round pick isn’t in line for a large raise, either, meaning it’s likely inconsequential if he signs a contract for 2023-24 with the Jets or if he signs with a new team after they trade for his signing rights. Stanley was eligible for salary arbitration this summer but opted not to file. He played in just 19 games for Winnipeg last season, recording three points and a 45.9% Corsi for at even strength while averaging just 13:43 per game.
- Similarly, Wiebe thinks the Jets haven’t agreed to minor-league defender Declan Chisholm on a new deal yet, thanks to the latter’s desire for a one-way contract. Chisholm has just a pair of NHL games to his name but excelled in the minors with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose last season, posting 43 points in 59 games and earning an AHL All-Star nod in the process. The 23-year-old defenseman may very well get claimed on waivers if the Jets sign him and attempt to send him back to Manitoba after a strong camp, though, so Chisholm is likely to earn an NHL salary next season regardless, although a two-way deal would remove that guarantee.