How would Winnipeg Jets‘ fans describe the free agency their team had? I’m guessing the words boring and lackadaisical are in the answer. The Jets standing still shouldn’t surprise anyone since GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is hesitant in conducting player transactions. Until the Evander Kane trade earlier this year, he didn’t make any player-for-player trades in his tenure as general manager.
So when Cheveldayoff didn’t sign any notable free-agents this year, that was a sign of confidence saying the Jets could make another playoff run. He wouldn’t be wrong. In 2014-15, the Jets had incredible depth led by the acquisitions of Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford and Jiri Tlusty. While the first two are a big part of the team next year, Tlusty is still a free-agent and is likely wearing different colors in October. Along with Tlusty, they allowed Michael Frolik to sign with the Calgary Flames leaving their forward depth diminished.
To mitigate this, the Jets re-signed enigmatic forward Alex Burmistrov to a bridge contract. After complaining about the structure of the team, I’m surprised that he is returning to the NHL, let alone Winnipeg. Nonetheless, Burmistrov provides a solid option to replace either of the departed forwards next season.
Going into 2015-16, Jets fans should expect a similar lineup to the one that made the playoffs for the first time in Winnipeg. Although they could still sign Jim Slater and Lee Stempniak, one of their biggest challenges next season will involve overcoming their forward depth. I expect Cheveldayoff to rely on their phenomenal drafting to replenish their forward core, but as for now, I give the Jets a C for their efforts.