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Winnipeg Jets May Look at Big Trade to Fill Vilardi Hole

With Gabe Vilardi out, will the Winnipeg Jet look to make a trade to fill the hole left behind?

The Winnipeg Jets have faced a significant setback with the news that forward Gabriel Vilardi will be sidelined for four to six weeks due to a sprained MCL. Despite this challenge, the team finds itself with an opportunity, as Vilardi’s potential placement on LTIR grants the Jets an additional $3.4 million in cap space. This financial maneuverability has sparked speculation about potential moves, with attention turning to Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland.

Reports from Murat Ates of The Athletic suggest that the Jets have shown interest in Garland, a right-shooting forward who delivered an impressive 46-point season for the Canucks. While nothing definitive has emerged on this front, Garland’s skill set as a playmaker and his ability to contribute offensively make him an appealing prospect for the Jets, even though his salary cap hit stands at a hefty $4.95 million AAV.

When Vilardi returns, his cap hit needs to be accounted for, so adding a player with a significant salary and term is not an easy choice to make. Instead, a player like Phil Kessel is still looking for a place to play and could be a less expensive alternative.

Jets Have Internal Options to Consider

Because going after Garland is not a given, the Jets are also looking at internal options. Reports are the team is contemplating the recall of a forward from Manitoba. Traditionally, veterans like Dominic Toninato, Kristian Reichel, or Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would be logical choices. However, emerging talent Parker Ford, a right-shooting forward, has also caught the team’s eye.

A surprising candidate in the mix is 19-year-old Brad Lambert, whose early-season performance has turned heads. He has showcased his potential in the AHL with two goals and an assist in three games this season.

Next: Phil Kessel Still Eager to Get Signed by NHL Team

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