The Sens, the game, and trade rumors.
The Jets host the Senators and one can hope that they come prepared tonight at home compared to how they played in Ottawa a week ago. Now the coincidence here is that Pierre Dorian the Sens GM has been in Winnipeg watching the Jets and Moose play and the Jets and Senators have been spectacled to be in trade talks with Duchene and home town kid Mark Stone. Stone seems to be the preferred and obvious target but there could be other options as the Jets have had scouts at many NHL games including ones with Philadelphia and LA recently.
However the attention is on Stone and for good reason he could move the needle but that's the optimistic view. The pessimistic one is that even if acquired will he be able to thrive under the structure and tactics of Paul Maurice? While that is a harsh view given the success the Jets have had, success bring expectations.
The critics can see that when the Jets struggle and either can't find their groove, effort or more Maurice is reluctant to make changes or adjustments preferring to have his player play through their challenges. Patrick Laine may be a perfect example of this. It would appear to many that when faced with a team playing the Jets well that the coach runs out of ideas to help guide them through an effective opposition attack. Does Mark Stone change any of that?
What he does do is bring a level of talent that is in the upper echelon of the NHL and like Scheifele and Wheeler that talent may prevail over time no matter what. Certainly Stone won't hurt the team but the fear for many is if he does become a 'rental' is the price worth it if the team has other problems that prevent it from going to the holy ground of a Stanley Cup final?
The fact that many Jets fans are going to have to face is that to get stone you are going to give up some one or more who you feel is valuable. The goal is to add a player that pushes the talent on the Jets to a level that is hard to match so that kind of player does not come cheap.
Perhaps that's why TSN 1200 in Ottawa tweeted that during the morning skates yesterday that Dorian and Chevy were seen chatting and then wandering away together.
This much we know about what the Sens want, a 1st round pick, a top prospect, a roster player(s) and perhaps more depending on the latter two. There is obviously room to maneuver and negotiate but what makes sense.
If you are Ottawa let's think about who you ask for:
Connor, Roslovic, Lowry, Perreault, Trouba, missing anyone?
Of those you have to then speculate on who the Jets can afford to move so Lowry is off the table and given Perreault's ability to play in almost any situation and with anyone he likely is safe too. Chevy knows he has an issue in Trouba but he needs the player for the post season so he's not going anywhere either.
That leaves Connor and Roslovic. The thought for many Jets fans is that the team cannot give up on either- they are young and valuable and can be assets for years to come. But if you are trying to win do they move the needle more than now, that's why acquiring Stone is desirable.
Prospects that Dorian would want to consider:
Vesalainen, Niku, Stanley, Virtanen, Samberg, Suess, Appleton, anyone else?
Now this is where it gets tricky because if you move one of these prospects and a roster player of similar position then the whole in the organization becomes bigger. Thus, looking at the bigger picture comes into play.
First, if the Jets want Stone they know the cost is high so they likely will want to try and sign him after this season. It plays to their asset management approach so the big picture gets a bit bigger.
Stone is 8 million plus in his next deal so losing Connor is swapping players and dollars with an upgrade that will cost you more. Before the outrage what part of Connor's game makes him look like Stone?
So the roster player that could be expendable is Connor, and that is a good return and likely more than other teams can offer specifically because the Sens can control his salary a bit. Now if the prospect is Vesalainen there might be torches and pitchforks out but that also leaves a gap in wingers within the organization so let's assume that if Connor is going then Vesalainen is safe.
Flip Connor to Roslovic and Vesalainen might be a harder push to move Dorian so what happens then? That's why there are some who see Connor as an expendable asset because Vesalainen is already showing what he can be which is more than what Connor was doing at that age.
Connor helps a lot more with the salary issue if the Jets are planning to re-sign Stone and that should be a priority. Eventually the place of Connor is replaced by Vesalainena and that's good because as draft and development team you need to keep rolling that talent into the lineup.
1st round pick, Connor and...
1st round pick, Roslovic, Veslainen, and???
So if Connor is deemed expendable (for good reason) then who is the additional prospect if it's not Vesalainen? The guess here is does Dorian want to add another forward of defence prospect? It would seem that by getting Connor they might look to defence and then Niku, Samberg and Stanley come into play. The Jets traded up to get Stanley yet they found a diamond in round 7 with Niku who became the AHL defensive player of the year last season. At this point who do you value more and see more upside with as that's the one you try not to keep. Given the lack of depth on the left side it would appear that Niku is closer to a regular NHL role so Stanley might have to be expendable.
1st round pick, Connor and Logan Stanley for Mark Stone- do you do this?
1st round pick, Jack Roslovic, Veslainen and Petan for Mark Stone- do you do this?
Again remember that Mark Stone is elite with 26 goals and 31 assists on the last place team in the league. He is 22nd in goals in the league and over half his goals (17) have been at 5vs5, and he's positive in his possession metrics. He is going to cost A LOT and the Jets are likely not the only team bidding.
The if either of those scenarios are close to what transpires if a trade does indeed happen can the team manage the loss of those assets in the near and long term? The Senators may have to offset some of this payment with something for reasons that aren't apparent yet, contract limit being one.
The point here is that when looking at this deal as a risk the Jets need to know how fast they can recover from the loss of assets should they not go deep and Mark Stone moves on. Perhaps the first could be conditional to this year if Stone re-signs and if he doesn't it's a first next year?
There's more that can be moved around but based on the ask and the kind of player that Stone is with a hefty payday coming there's likely room to maneuver and the Jets are one of the few teams that has the need for him and the possible assets. That works in their favor to acquire him but not at any cost, these prices are almost at any cost and should the Jets and Sens get serious Kevin Cheveldayoff is going to have to do his best to not overpay and know how the organization can recover it's asset loss.