The Winnipeg Jets have made a couple of significant moves this summer, and they’ve flown somewhat under the radar. They acquired forward Michael Frolik and forward Devin Setoguchi, each of which should provide a positive impact for a team that stands on the cusp of fighting for a playoff spot.
But although those two additions could be looked at as an improvement, the Jets still have plenty of work to do in terms of their current roster. They came into the offseason with more key free agents than pretty much any team out there, and haven’t made much progress towards improving that status.
They have five players headed to arbitration, three of which represent those key free agents. Those three players are Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, and Zach Bogosian. In addition to those three, the Jets still have eight other free agents to deal with, though we already know a few of those will not be returning next year.
Wheeler and Little are a pair of forwards that could help to give the Jets the type of offensive attack they’re looking for, when you factor in the addition of Setoguchi. They make up two-thirds of the top line next to Andrew Ladd that the Jets would obviously like to retain.
Then there’s Bogosian. This isn’t the first time he’s been out on the free agent market with restricted status, having signed a two-year deal after the 2010-11 season, with hopes of earning a long term contract with the Jets when that deal expired. He’s a building block on the blue line, though he still has yet to reach his full potential as a two-way defenseman.
The Jets have only nine forwards signed for next season. They have key players in need of deals. They need a couple of extra defenseman to have around for depth. This is a team that is a long way away from being done with their offseason plan, but they probably shouldn’t sit around and wait too long, or offer sheets might become an option for outside teams.