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Trade Coverage

Ladd's future biggest decision for Cheveldayoff

Jets NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Winnipeg Jets:


Record: 25-28-3, 53 points; 7th in Central Division, 7th in Western Conference Wild Card

Unrestricted free agents: Grant Clitsome, D; Andrew Ladd, LW; Adam Pardy, D

Restricted free agents: Joel Armia, RW; Michael Hutchinson, G; Adam Lowry, C; Mark Scheifele, C; Jacob Trouba, D

Projected 2016 draft picks: 6 (1 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 7 (1 first)

Needs: Forward depth, left-handed defensemen

Surpluses: Goaltenders

Players Potentially in Play: Ladd

Likely status: Seller

Skinny: Winnipeg has taken a step backward this season after the franchise reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. Many expected the Jets to be in contention for the postseason in the Western Conference all season, at the very least, but inconsistency, a lack of bottom-six depth, penalty problems and breakdowns on special teams have hampered them. Lingering since this past summer has been Ladd's future in Winnipeg. If retained by general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Ladd would require considerable financial commitment. He would also continue to play a major role in the lineup for the Jets, who may wish to begin assigning bigger roles to their younger forwards and prospects. Center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba, major pieces of Winnipeg's young core, each is in line for a new contract. What Cheveldayoff decides to do with Ladd will have a significant ripple effect on the salary cap and what the Jets are able to commit to Scheifele and Trouba. If Cheveldayoff decides to trade Ladd rather than risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season, the veteran forward could command a strong return. The return of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec from a knee injury resulted in rookie Connor Hellebuyck being assigned to Manitoba of the American Hockey League after Hellebuyck had taken over the starting job in Pavelec's absence. With backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson also in the picture, the long-term goaltending situation remains unclear. Hellebuyck is viewed as the future No. 1 goaltender for the Jets, but Pavelec is under contract through next season. Whether the Jets would be willing to move Pavelec or whether there would be a market for him is not known. If Cheveldayoff is willing to be aggressive in moving some of his veteran players or even a younger player like Trouba, he could have options prior to the trade deadline. However, Ladd's future in Winnipeg is his first decision.

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