The Jets were naturally busy this offseason, as they had to not only move from Atlanta, but try to start rebuilding a team that had one playoff appearance in franchise history. While they didn’t make many huge splashes, they did make some moves to ensure the franchise is headed in the right direction.
The first of these was re-signing Andrew Ladd. Though traditionally fans might not think of him as a dominant player because he’s not a 40 goal scorer, he was the best forward on the Thrashers last year and one of the better ones in all the league.
Secondly, the Jets made a deal with the Capitals to acquire Eric Fehr. Fehr, who will make 2.2 million this year, was a bit of a salary dump deal by the Capitals. All the Jets had to give up was a 4th round pick and a prospect who will never be an NHL regular. With the Jets so far away from the cap (and indeed, near the floor) trading for guys in the last year of their deal is a great way to accumulate assets. And they can do it in one of two ways. First, they can flip Fehr at the deadline for a higher draft pick (or a prospect), or they can do what I like to call the Oklahoma City Thunder method, telling teams that you’ll take their crappy contract as long as they give you something good with it.
In free agency the Jets made a lot of low cost moves, giving two way contracts to 4th liners and 3rd pair defensemen types that signaled to me that they are going to float around the cap floor for a couple of years, stock up their farm system in the draft and via trade, and then give a run at the cup a go in 5 or so years.
Lastly, the Jets signed amateur free agent and Winnipeg native Jason Gregoire. I don’t think he’ll ever be a first line player, but college free agents are generally paid a lot less than they’re worth, so signing 1 or 2 (and they don’t even have to be the top guys. A good but unheralded college player can come play on your third line for 25% of what an established player would make) of these college free agents per year is a great way to stockpile some assets.