The Winnipeg Jets are the real deal. When you are the real deal, you have to add to make your team unstoppable. The Jets need very few things. The problem is that they are in a juggernaut of a conference that potentially has six legit cup contenders. There will be an arms race in the west and Winnipeg will need to arm itself. When it comes to their forward core it is constructed as follows when healthy:

Anyone looking at this roster would think this is a solid roster but not a cup-winning roster. Then you pair it with their statistics offensively and defensively then it all clicks into place. This is a deep roster that has Kyle Connor on its second line. Any team that has a guy on the second line who consistently puts up 30 goals is a deep team. Where they could add is down the middle at the 2C position, this would trigger a trickle-down effect on this forward group

Top 3 Candidates for 2nd Line Center

Elias Lindholm – Calgary Flames

Elias Lindholm is at the top of every team’s list that is looking for a center. With the Jets, they would want to resign him as the 2C position is a need for them to continue to be competitive. At this time it has not been discussed even if he wants to go to Winnipeg. If the Jets were able to add him, they would add one of the best two-way forwards in the game right now. He has had multiple near 30-goal seasons as well as a 40-goal season. The offense is not his biggest asset though as he is defensively responsible. Lindholm also only carries a 4.85 million this year so he would easily fit on the roster financially.

Adam Henrique – Anaheim Ducks

When it comes to the center position on the Ducks, it had been for a while Getzlaf and Henrique down the middle. Getzlaf has left and now Henrique has the role of first-line center. The problem is it hasn’t worked out for the Ducks and Henrique. He is a stellar player and has been consistently a good two-way player on a struggling Anaheim team. He would bring a great amount of experience as well as defensive ability. The only downside to Henrique is that he carries a 5.825 million cap hit and is he worth that money? Also is he still a second-line center on a contending team? The Jets will have to decide if it is worth the money as well as if he isn’t just more of what they already have.

Kevin Hayes – St. Louis Blues

Now we have been here before with the Jets and Hayes. The great thing is that Hayes seems to have revived his career and also is on a very affordable salary due to the Flyers retaining salary. Hayes is not the flashy player that Lindholm is but he would be affordable and familiar. He would also bring a solid big body player who is not afraid to get in the dirty areas. He has already been rumored to go to Colorado so why not Winnipeg? This Winnipeg team needs players who can play dirty and also know how to put a puck in the net. The cap hit of 3.5 million makes it a really easy move to make while Hayes would fit right in on the second-line center position.

Honorable Mentions: Travis Konecny (PHI), Sean Monahan (MTL), Evgeny Kuznetsov (WSH)

Top 3 Candidates for Defense

After the second line center position, the next position is on defense. The Jets heading into the season had a defence that was full of top 4 defencemen. That’s the thing though, the top 4 is not the top 2. Josh Morrissey stepped up last year and has just continued on this year. It all but confirms he is a number one defenceman in this league. The rest of the defense has played quite well in the Rick Bowness system. With that being said there is always room for improvement.

Each pairing on this defense is solid. The Jets will need to add to that bottom pair. To be fair, the bottom pair has been very serviceable this season. The role the Jets need to fill is having that guy who can step into the top pairing, second pairing, or third pairing and just play solid hockey. The Jets have two ways of doing that; find a top-pairing defenseman or find another Dylan Demelo style player. This is not a shot at Demelo as he is an amazing defenseman, he has been a steal for what they gave up to get him.

Dante Fabbro – Nashville Predators

Dante Fabbro is in a tough spot in Nashville. He is not good enough to be a top-pairing defenseman but he is still young and can grow into a solid top-four defenseman. Winnipeg does not care what he will be in the future just what he can be this year which is a solid third pairing player. This deal will be harder to pull off as it is a division rival so there may be a tax on it.

The other factor that might up his value is that he will be an RFA at the end of his contract, which means the Jets have a tradeable asset if he decides he does not want to resign in Winnipeg. When it comes to the contract, it is very affordable with it only being 2.5 million for this year. This all makes sense for the Jets as he can fit in well on the defense at a low cap hit and a relatively low acquisition cost as well. Now it will boil down to if these once heated rivals can make a deal.

Jan Rutta – San Jose Sharks

Rutta is a solid defensive defenseman. He is reliable, steady, and predictable. In a defenseman, those are all good qualities. The Jets are already a great defensive team and adding a reliable d-man to the mix will help an immense amount, especially in the playoffs. In the playoffs, injuries happen, especially on the backend, it is a grind. Also adding a two-time Stanley Cup champion is nothing small. This guy knows what it takes to win and was a big part of the Lightning two-cup runs. Not only does he add stability and playoff experience but he also carries a very affordable cap hit at 2.75 million. The Jets could use a guy like this in the lineup down the stretch run.

Joel Edmundson – Washington Capitals

Joel Edmundson is a Manitoba boy so this would be a nice homecoming for him. Edmundson is a towering force on the blueline and was a big part of the Stanley Cup winning run of the St. Louis Blues. The Jets blue lines average height is 6’2″ so adding a 6’5″ defenceman would bring much needed size and reliability. Edmundson has always played nasty and been hard to play against. The type of players that are needed in the playoffs. The cap hit is low at 1.75 million as well so not only can they add him for a relatively low price financially as well asset wise.

Honorable Mentions: Colton Parayko (STL), Tyson Barrie (NSH), Adam Boqvist (CLB)

At this time, the Jets have just over 5 million in cap space. That is lots of space to acquire players without even having to move any contracts out. The Jets are good this year. The feeling around this team is different. It has that aurora that this is the year that Cheveldayoff may actually swing for the fences. He will always stick to his style though, he will always try to acquire players that want to stay in Winnipeg longer than a year. This deadline will be interesting with very many teams. The fact we know about the Jets GM is that never expect the expected from him. Should be fun to watch.