With plenty of chatter going around that the Winnipeg Jets might be looking at adding to their defense corps before the NHL Trade Deadline, who their primary target will be remains unclear. Some speculation has the Jets linked to Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators and David Savard of the Columbus Blue Jackets. But, is there a better, perhaps more viable option?
Murat Ates of The Athletic suggests the Jets should go after Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski and that if they were to do so, they wouldn’t need to give up as many assets to land the blueliner. More specifically, Ates believes the Jets wouldn’t have to give up any high-end futures in return.
Goligoski’s offensive production isn’t what it once was. But, if the Jets aren’t looking for points and assists, the Coyotes could supply the Jets with an experienced left-shot defenseman who can eat big minutes and serve in a variety of defensive roles. He’s also a pending UFA.
Most believe Ekholm out of Nashville will cost the Jets three assets, a first-round pick among them. If the Blue Jackets decide to sell, Savard could also fetch a sizeable return. The only issue when it comes to Goligoski is his $5.475 million cap hit.
The Jets Could Make It Work
The Jets have a bit more than $3.5 million in LTIR space remaining on the season and Goligoski will be owed around $1.9 million in salary to close out the 2020-21 campaign. If the Coyotes retain a bit of salary, Ates sees this as an option that could realistically work. He writes:
A low-cost, low-risk trade is precisely the type of gamble a good but flawed Jets team should look for, especially because the team doesn’t want to give up on young defencemen like Stanley, Samberg and Heinola… And, given he’s a pending UFA, Goligoski would not create any additional expansion draft concerns.
Not everyone is sold that the Jets will actually add. They’ve gone that route before with mixed success and they’ve got some good young pieces that, if given the opportunity, could step up.