February 27, 2012

Winnipeg Jets @ The Deadline

The first trade deadline where the Winnipeg Jets 2.0 would participate in. Many Winnipegers had high expectations of the Jets going into the deadline. People wanted a top 6 forward, preferably a number 1 center. Well, the deadline has passed and the Jets did not acquire a single forward today. They made only one move. The Jets traded Defenseman Johnny Oduya to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2nd and 3rd round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. Many view this as a positive trade for the Winnipeg Jets. Oduya was a free agent after this current season, and was not likely going to resign with the Jets. He was earning $3,500,000 this season and was in the third and final year of a 3 year, $10,500,000 deal which he originally signed with the New Jersey Devils. Johnny Oduya had played 3.5 years with the New Jersey Devils until being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers on February 4th, 2010 in a deal involving Ilya Kovalchuk going back the other way to the Devils.

Many teams needed a defenseman at the trade deadline, and standards were extremely high. The Nick Grossman trade set the tone for future deals. Grossman was traded from Dallas to Philadelphia for a 2012 2nd round pick, and a 2013 3rd round pick; exactly what the Jets got for Johnny Oduya. Many Jets fans view this as a positive trade for the Jets, and may think that the Blackhawks paid to high for the veteran Swedish defenseman. Once I had texted one of my friends about the trade, he was shocked and thought that Oduya was worth a 4th round draft pick. We got into an argument about this because we completely disagreed on Johnny Oduya’s value. I think that the Oduya for 2nd and 3rd round picks is a fair trade for both teams considering the small availability of veteran defenseman that were available at the deadline.

I had met Johnny Oduya at Safeway two days before the October 9th home opener against the Montreal Canadians. He was waiting in line to pay and I went up to him and said, “Mr. Oduya, I am a huge Jets fan. Can I get a picture with you?” He responded totally shocked and said sure. He definitely did not expect this, because he had just came from playing for the Atlanta Thrashers. No one knew or cared who he was in Atlanta. It was not a hockey state. Putting a NHL team back in Winnipeg is the best thing that has ever happened to this city. The players love it here. So much passion for team. Everyone in Winnipeg always talks about the Jets. Everyone loves the Jets. Johnny Oduya was a fan favourite here in Winnipeg, and everyone surely will miss him. Good luck to you Johnny.

Shortly before the Oduya trade, the Jets picked up Grant Clitsome of waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is in the first year of a 2 year deal worth $2,500,000. He is a bargain for a price of $1,250,000 per year. In my opinion, good pickup by the Jets to replace Johnny Oduya on the third defense line with Ron Hainsey.

I was a bit disappointed that the Jets didn’t pick up any forwards on deadline day. They need a true number one center. In a couple years, it will be Bryan Little, Alex Burmistrov or Mark Scheifele; but that’s in the future and still 3-5 years away. The asking price for a number one center was high. For the Jets to get a number one centre they would’ve had to give up a 1st round pick or give up some future assets. I understand that the Jets don’t want to do that and I completely agree with them and that we shouldn’t mortgage the future for short term success.

I am overall happy with the Jets roster after the trade deadline and I think this team could do some damage in the playoffs.

Will Levy
Twitter: NHLManitoba


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