The Winnipeg Jets came into this season with something many teams can’t find: hope. They were coming off their first playoff series since moving from Atlanta. They had a young core that made them a team to reckon with for years to come.
The team has been the epitome of disappointment this season. They rank 27th in goals against and their special teams are the worst in the NHL. They are last in the Central Division, and the playoffs are becoming a distant memory.
The Jets need to become sellers to save their future.
Dustin Byfuglien is in the last season of his contract. Many believe he won’t be coming back in the offseason. If this is the case, the Jets need to trade him soon. They need to maximize his value while most teams still feel they have a chance this season.
Byfuglien could bring a massive return. He is a big-bodied defenseman who has enough skill to play right wing. He ranks fourth among defensemen with nine goals. He is the perfect defender for today’s NHL. Add that into the fact that he is asking for an eight-year contract worth $55 million, and Byfuglien is the obvious player to turn into parts for the future.
Another player who would be a harder decision is Andrew Ladd. He is also about to be a free agent. Ladd is the Jets’ captain, and usually one of their best players. This season hasn’t gone the way he hoped, as he only has 21 points, which is only good for fifth on the team. He has the same amount of points as Byfuglien, but he is supposed to be one of their main producers. Ladd has reportedly asked for just less than $5 million per season.
The Jets need to regroup and get the rest of their franchise in order. Michael Hutchinson and Co. have not been enough in net to keep the team afloat. This needs to be a season where they build the next decade of their franchise. A decade of opportunity and a decade of success. If they mess up and go for broke this year, and lose their assets in the offseason, it could change the rest of this franchise’s history.