Maybe such an unexpected summer and news about Dustin Byfuglien has the Winnipeg Jets and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff flustered, but if a recent report is accurate, the Jets organization is more conflicted than we possibly could have ever imagined.
I say that, because, reports are surfacing that the Jets are listening to trade offers on forward Kyle Connor and that sounds like an incredibly crazy thing to do.
At the end of the day, I suppose there’s no harm in listening to another team. But, if Cheveldayoff pulls the trigger on a deal, this is the type of decision that could cost a general manager their job.
Clearly, the Jets are reeling. A summer that was full of the team offloading some key defensemen took a turn for the worse when it was learned stud d-man Dustin Byfuglien wasn’t coming back. Now that Big Buff is all but gone, and the Jets are struggling, Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press writes that the team is receiving considerable interest in their top line winger.
Yes, the Jets need defense in a bad way. Would they really move a player like Connor to get it?
Not Just a Rumor
McIntyre starts by saying, “Normally, I’m loathe to play the role of gossip monger…” But, then he goes to say that “a specific morsel making the rounds this week, one told to me by a well-connected source who swears ‘it has legs,’ got me thinking of a big-picture type question.”
McIntyre then says the Jets are not shopping Connor, nor are they actively looking to use him to improve their blue line but they are getting calls and a team willing to help the Jets in a major way on defense wants a major player on offense.
“You have to move talent to get talent,” says McIntyre. “In this case, skilled young wingers is where the Jets are deepest — isn’t as crazy as it sounds.”
Related: 3 Teams Show Interest in Ilya Kovalchuk
What Connor Gets the Jets
Kyle Connor currently leads the Jets with 25 goals and should beat last season’s career highs easily. He’s one of the core group of young players (23 years old) that were supposed to make the Jets a formidable force moving forward and perhaps that could have happened this season if not for such an unfortunate set of circumstances with their defense.
Any team calling and asking for Connor knows they’d have to pony up. Thus, rumors that one of the teams interested have already set the bar high coming out of the gate, makes sense. Apparently, the Colorado Avalanche are reportedly leading the hunt to land Connor offering with 2019 No. 4 overall pick Bowen Byram as the core piece.
For the Avs, they already rookie Cale Makar, and their window to win is now. Connor makes them better today by a wide margin whereas as Byram isn’t expected to make a dent in the NHL until at least one or two seasons from now. It makes sense from a Colorado perspective. But, for the Jets, this is a lot more risky a move.
The Jets would essentially be giving up on the season and they’d be trading a key piece to a division rival. That’s not easy to sell to the fan base or the players. Byram helps down the road but there’s no guarantees here.
And, if word has spread that the Jets are listening when a team like the Avs call, we have to assume other teams are calling too.
There seems to be a few untouchables in the Jets lineup. Is Kyle Connor among them? There’s no trade yet, but that Cheveldayoff is listening to offers. That’s how the unthinkable gets started.
Related: Duclair’s Struggles With Senators a Sign of Potential Trade?
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