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The Case For Enstrom… to be traded to Edmonton

May 29, 2012, 8:33 AM ET [198 Comments]
Peter Tessier
Winnipeg Jets Blogger •Winnipeg Jets Writer • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me: @teddier

Some fans view Enstrom as a foundation player for the Winnipeg Jets, some one to keep on defense and build around with Byfuglien and Bogosian. Enstrom has many of the tools a team would want, moves the puck, can control play on the PP, passes well and can log minutes in all most all game situations.

Enstrom was 25th in the league for average TOI for the season at 23:50 per game while he was 37th for PP TOI with 203:34 for the season. Consider his points since he entered the NHL, 204 in 380 games, and Enstrom should be seen as a valuable asset to the Jets as they move forward from a disappointing 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference.

The better question may be is Enstrom worth more to the Jets if he was traded than he is with them?

Enstrom will become a UFA after next season when his 3.75 million/year contract finishes. Ron Hainsey’s contract finishes at the same time, while in comparison to his team mate, Enstrom is an easy pick for almost any fan and observer. Can the Jets afford to risk losing both of these players? The obvious answer is ‘not if there is no return’ but could there be a greater return for the Jets by moving Enstrom now than begrudgingly at next season’s trade deadline?

The Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets sit 1-2 in this year’s entry draft, could either of those teams have an interest in a player such as Enstrom? The Jackets appear set with their core of Wisnewski, Johnson, Tutyn and Methot but what of the Oilers?

Cam Barker, an RFA on what could be nearly his last chance in the league, has only once exceeded any of Enstrom’s point totals in the course of his career. Ryan Whitney has put up numbers comparable or better than Enstrom but those were during his days with the Penguins and these two guys named Crosby and Malkin. Nick Schultz has never come close to what Enstrom produces, nor will he, as they are completely different players.

Smid is even further away from the player Enstrom is, even when compared to Schultz. Former Thrasher Andy Sutton is also not comparable to Enstrom when style of play is considered and perhaps that is where this analysis should go: style of play.

The Oilers are a team with the following forwards; Hemsky, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Omark, and Paajarvi yet they have almost no one to get them the puck let alone move it up the ice with any kind of confidence. It’s one part of Enstrom’s game he does well. He sees the ice, he can skate with it and move it while he is moving and that’s one thing the Oiler forwards do not have, a puck-moving defenseman who can provide proper ‘service’ (as they say in English football).

Enstrom could be that player and there are many reasons why he might fit. The obvious is listed above, but what about the future? Enstrom is coming into a contract year and may play his little Swedish heart out for that next, and perhaps last, big chance of a huge payday. That potential surge in play could also benefit the Jets but with an emerging Bogosian and almost solely offensive-minded Byfuglien do the Jets need to load up on a longer term deal for Enstrom? Should Enstrom find himself playing on the Oilers, having him there a year before his contract ends may make it easier to sell him on the future of the team after he has been a part of it. If it is truly ‘harder’ for Edmonton to attract UFAs then getting a player like Enstrom via trade may be the best option. With all the young talent in Edmonton Enstrom could realize a future there but he may need ‘get a feel for the city’ first to understand the potential.

Edmonton also has the assets the Jets need, forwards and youthful forwards at that. The Jets are a team that will have to grow but having the right seeds is important too and Edmonton has plenty of those. It lacks fertilizer, unless you include certain bunk spread by some in the Edmonton media. Enstrom could be the catalyst that helps the talent up front grow.

What would it take? What would make sense for both teams?

Edmonton will certainly have offers for it’s #1 pick and perhaps offers to trade down and get one of the several defensemen who are almost sure to make an impact in the NHL. However, with a player who is being compared to Bure, a franchise horse, do they dare gamble on that pick or could they deal a quantity they know?
Could any of the players listed above be available should Enstrom be offered? Could there be a package for one or more? Ask yourselves this Jets fans: if the Oilers are set to take Yakupov would offering up Enstrom and Burmistrov for one their youthful studs be worth it? Could the Jets 1st round pick and Enstrom get the first from Edmonton?

The simple and most honest reality is that in this upcoming draft there is a chance for Chevy to make his mark, to put a stamp of direction and authority on the team that is his. This draft and the variable surrounding certain teams are a unique opportunity. Edmonton is just one but its needs vs the Jets assets are too obvious to ignore, at least for the sake of speculation. But that’s where trades begin, as speculation, just like in the stock market.

Enstrom’s stock will rise this season if he is playing hard for a new contract. If you’re the Jets do you sell now knowing there is a buyer with cash and glaring needs? For the Oilers do you gamble that you can go without, and eventually try to secure him for only the contract and the ink with which he signs it? I like to catch a stock on the rise and get the most value but it’s hard to do, just like timing trades. That’s why it’s called speculation in the stock market and in the player market too. Enstrom to Edmonton is purely speculation but there is a lot of upside for both teams if the trade is made sooner than if at all.
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