Three Things We Learned About the Jets at the Trade Deadline



The Winnipeg Jets shocked the hockey world on trade deadline day when they acquired centre Paul Stastny from their division rivals, the St. Louis Blues. But that wasn’t the only move general manager Kevin Chevaldayoff pulled off. In the dying minutes of the trade deadline, they also acquired depth defenseman Joe Morrow from the Montreal Canadiens.

What do these deals tell us about the Jets? Three things.

1. Winnipeg is an attractive destination. Jets fans are no stranger to this belittling phrase: “Players don’t want to play in Winnipeg.” This stigma has surrounded the team since their return to the city seven years ago. Even as recently as January 8, San Jose Sharks forward ripped the city for being “cold and dark.” In response, Patrik Laine submitted his opinion on the city of Winnipeg in The Players Tribune, expressing his love for the city, its people, and his teammates.

But with the team surprising the hockey world by acquiring Stastny from the Blues in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2018, prospect Erik Foley, and a 2020 fourth-round pick, things appear to be changing. Maybe that stigma is gone.

Stastny, 32, had a full no-trade clause, meaning that he had to personally approve of his destination city. He could have said no to Winnipeg, but he didn’t. He wanted to come here. Though many factors come into play when a player like Stastny chooses where to land, winning is definitely a huge component.

This deal tells us that players around the league, along with those in the Jets locker room, believe the Jets to be a Stanley Cup contender. Just think of what Stastny waived when he approved this trade. Despite having struggled as of late, the Blues are by no one’s standards a bad team. Stastny agreed to leave a team that has made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.

While this doesn’t mean the Jets will go on a free agent signing spree, it does indicate that the Jets are no longer a bubble team, and that the league has taken notice. With arguably the best top-nine in the Western Conference, and one of the best defensive cores in the NHL, the Jets certainly have the depth to challenge for a championship this spring. 

2. It’s time to trade—and trade big. Another saying Jets fans have heard time and time again goes like this: “Kevin Chevaldayoff doesn’t like to make trades.” I touched on this in our article leading up to the trade deadline, and if there’s anything we’ve learned about the Jets’ general manager between now and then, it’s that Chevaldayoff doesn’t make trades unless big names are involved.

In his seven years as general manager, Chevy has completed only 23 trades. Over the past three years, he’s completed seven. The most notable, of course, was the acquisition of defenseman Tyler Myers in 2015, a deal that saw Evander Kane head the other way.

The most underrated move was when he sent former captain Andrew Ladd to Chicago and opted to re-sign Dustin Byfuglien. Since Ladd’s departure, Blake Wheeler has stepped into the position of captain and has become the face of the Jets franchise.

Finally, there is the Stastny deal. While it’s still too soon to come to any conclusion about who won the deal, it marks the third time in three years that Chevy has traded for a star-calibre player. So who says Kevin Chevaldayoff doesn’t like to make trades?

3. The Jets are all-in. If there was any question about whether or not management was all-in on this Jets team, there isn’t anymore. In fact, the acquisition of Stastny may have been enough to put the Jets over the top.

One advantage Winnipeg has over other contending teams is the ability to play any kind of game. From a physical game to a skilled or speedy one, the Jets have arguably the most flexible roster in the entire league—perhaps an even more versatile game than their division rivals, the Nashville Predators. The two teams play will play each other February 27 in what might well be a playoff preview for later this spring.

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