We’re continuing our offseason trip around the Central Division today with one of the four teams to make the playoffs, the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg lost in the first round to the Vegas Golden Knights. We have previously looked at the offseasons of the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators.
Winnipeg presents an interesting summer ahead. They brought in a new head coach last summer and had some conflict around their captaincy being removed. There are a few players on this roster who will will be tied to trade rumors all summer, and some might be moved to help the Jets change their draft capital in a division that has a few teams loaded up this summer — including the Blackhawks.
Jets 2022-23 By the Numbers
2022-23 Record: 46-33-3 – 95 points (4th in the Central Division)
2023 Playoffs: Lost in first round
2023-24 Projected Cap Space: $13 million
Head Coach: Rick Bowness
General Manager: Kevin Cheveldayoff
Goals For/Game: 3.00 (21st in the NHL)
Goals Against/Game: 2.73 (10)
Power Play Pct: 19.3 (23)
Penalty Kill Pct: 82.4 (7)
Jets Offseason Outlook
Notable 2023 UFAs: Vladislav Namestnikov, Axel Jonsson-Fjällby, Saku Maenalanen, Karson Kuhlman, Sam Gagner, David Rittich
Notable 2023 RFAs: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Morgan Barron, Kevin Stenlund, Logan Stanley, Dylan Samberg
2023 Draft Capital:
First Round (No. overall): 18
Second Round: none
Third Round: WPG
Fourth Round: none
Fifth Round: WPG, NYR
Sixth Round: none
Seventh Round: WPG
Jets Offseason Headlines
One of the big questions this summer will be what the Jets do with RFA center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who has been pretty open about his desire to play elsewhere. Considering the limited cap space the Jets have and the fact that the two faces of their franchise over the past years — Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele — have one year remaining on their respective contracts, this could easily become a transitional year for this franchise.
With only two picks in the first four rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Jets have limited opportunities to improve their prospect pool quickly in this summer’s deep draft. That reality might change if they find trade partners for Dubois and either/both of Scheifele and Wheeler, and possibly others as well.
There have already been whispers that the Jets may be open to moving star goaltender Connor Hellebuyck this summer. That certainly accelerated when he reportedly told the team he has no plans of re-signing in Winnipeg after the 2023-24 season, opting to hit the open market as a UFA.
The Jets had a prospect pool that Scott Wheeler at The Athletic ranked 13th in the NHL in his mid-season update. That group is headlined by Chaz Lucius, Rutger McGroarty and Brad Lambert. Lambert was an absolute beast in the WHL playoffs with the Seattle Thunderbirds.