The Winnipeg Jets Have Some Tough Decisions to Make: Could The Blackhawks Help?

Published May 5, 2023 at 11:55

The Winnipeg Jets are in a tough predicament. They just lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing the series 4-1. Now, General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is faced with a few difficult decisions.

Kevin Cheveldayoff was recently interviewed by the media. Cheveldayoff was asked about firing Head Coach Rick Bowness, and he declined the possibility of firing him. The firing of Bowness is needed for the team, so I don't really understand this decision. Rick hasn't done anything productive for the team since he was brought in this July, and is just scaring star players away at this point. He had a top contending roster, but all of that slipped away due to his bad coaching.

All of that considered, the teardown of the Jets may be coming, and Cheverdayoff has to accept it. It's all going to start by the trades of forward Pierre Luc-Dubois and goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Dubois needs a contract extension, but the Jets don't have the cap and it seems as if Cheverdayoff has no interest in making enough room for him, as rumors came out earlier this year that Dubois was being shopped.

Pierre is just 24 years old and was the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. This season, he tallied 27 goals and 36 assists, adding up to 63 points in 73 games this season. This is interesting, as he is an RFA and the Jets traded Patrick Lainie to the Blue Jackets in order to earn his contract rights. The Montreal Canadians have been coming up a lot and seem to be interested in him. Whoever trades for Dubois will earn his rights and can sign him to a long term contract, if they wish.

The main focal point is goalie Connor Hellebuyck. I don't think Kevin Cheverdayoff ever thought about trading him away, but after the comment Connor made it seems like he wants out. Hellebuyck said that he wants to play for a winning team, and this isn't a winning team right now, and he doesn't want his prime years to dwindle away. With a possible rebuild on the way, maybe Winnipeg explore some options for trading him. Hellebuyck is 29 years old and is a Vezina Trophy Award finalist almost every season. He had a 2.49 GAA and a .920 SV%, one of the best in the league. If his name does go on the market, there is no doubt in my mind that teams will be chomping at the bit to get him, and the Jets could get a lot for him.
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