October 23, 2020

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Anatomy of a deal: Our writers dissect Tuesday's blockbuster trade between Jets, Sabres

Free Press writers Campbell, Lawless and Tait weigh in

Former Calder Trophy winner Tyler Myers could reinvigorate his career in Winnipeg.


Former Calder Trophy winner Tyler Myers could reinvigorate his career in Winnipeg.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/2/2015 (2080 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In today's cap world, Wednesday's eight-player transaction between the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres was mostly a hockey trade.

And it was complicated.

It contained elements for the present, uncertain elements in that an injured player changed teams, and it contained future pieces in three prospects and a late first-round draft pick for this coming June.

Free Press writers Gary Lawless, Ed Tait and Tim Campbell look at the components of Kevin Cheveldayoff's biggest deal as a GM with this insight:


1. Zach Bogosian for Tyler Myers. It's a regular big-minute defenceman for a regular big-minute defenceman.

Lawless: Bogosian is a hard player to say goodbye to for the organization. Beloved in the locker-room and a true soldier. But Myers simply has more upside and can be a true offensive weapon. Paired with Toby Enstrom, Myers and his ability to get his shot through traffic could be a revelation.

Tait: This is critical in the deal for the Jets -- can Myers get some of the shine back on his star after being named the league's top rookie five years ago? He's got some term left on his deal and at a favourable cap hit. As for Bogosian, so many were waiting for him to take the next step, but injuries always tripped him up instead. Right now this looks a bit like a wash in the blockbuster.

Campbell: Jets had a tough call to make here, given Bogosian's strength and foot speed. He's had some injury issues and his no-trade kicks in this summer. I see Myers' wingspan and agility as great additions to a team that's really stressing closing the gap and taking away time and space for the purpose of improved defence.


2. Evander Kane for Drew Stafford. In the forward-for-forward element of this deal, the Sabres move a pending unrestricted free agent and the Jets get the cap flexibility.

Lawless: Kane is the better talent at this stage but he simply had to be moved. Stafford files a hole right now but long-term the edge here will go to Buffalo.

Tait: There's no question that Kane still has an enormous ceiling. But how long do you wait? And at what point do the off-ice transgressions/antics start to outweigh the need to be patient in a player's development? That's an issue for the Sabres now. Stafford offers a short-term fix. Might be a good piece if he re-signs in the summer but if some of the prospects in the system are ready next fall, he could block their path to the bigs.

Campbell: Subtly, Kane made his case for being elsewhere and has his wish. Stafford's hands could come in real handy for a team that sometimes struggles to score and the future decision about whether he stays could have something to do with how ready the Jets determine some of their closer prospects, like Nic Petan, Nik Ehlers, Andrew Copp and Joel Armia are. A bit of freed-up cap space isn't a bad thing.


3. Goalie Jason Kasdorf for left-winger Brendan Lemieux and right-winger Joel Armia.

Lawless: Armia has top-six talent and Lemieux is a style of player the Jets don't have. If these two can step into Winnipeg's lineup and contribute, they'll close the gap created by Kane's absence. Kasdorf was expendable since the Jets have loads of prospect depth in the crease.

Tait: Connor Hellebuyck, Eric Comrie and now Jamie Phillips at Michigan Tech -- a Hobey Baker candidate -- give the Jets tons of goaltender depth in the system and meant that Kasdorf was well down the organizational depth chart. Really intrigued by what Lemieux could bring and if the late Don Baizley raved about Armia, a client of his before he passed, that's as glowing a recommendation as a player can get in hockey.

Campbell: Through good fortune and good picking, the Jets have assembled a promising goaltending future. With Connor Hellebuyck, Eric Comrie Jamie Phillips and Kasdorf developing well, it was the logical place to use an asset. Character has been suggested in Armia's case (the Don Baizley connection), and some further patience will be required. Lemieux is just 18 and the Jets seem to have a good handle on another prospect under Dale Hawerchuk's guidance.


4. The late first-round pick (St. Louis's or the Islanders') that goes from Buffalo to Winnipeg:

Lawless: The icing on the cake. Maybe Cheveldayoff moves the pick or maybe he uses it himself. First-round picks are never a bad thing.

Tait: A chip to flip at the draft or another chance to add more talent. Either way, in a deep, deep draft this is one of those parts of the deal that might get lost in the initial buzz, but could be seen -- years from now -- as a mammoth component.

Campbell: Winnipeg is big on the draft -- no surprise there. One of the first-round picks this year could be dangled in a trade, and soon, but in a good draft year, Cheveldayoff hinted strongly on Wednesday he doesn't have it in his mind to deal it. I suspect he'd like to make two first-round picks on draft day.


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