Don’t count on the Winnipeg Jets having a huge fire sale just yet. They’re still in prime position to win the Southeast division.
The Jets sit just two points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the division lead. They’re still a sub .500 team, but maybe that’s all it will take to make the playoffs this season.
The Jets aren’t ready to tank for a top draft pick. This team has a lot of heart and will continue to compete until the very end.
When the trade deadline approaches or even weeks prior to it, the Jets probably aren’t going to become immediate sellers or buyers. It’s more likely they’ll become sellers if things start to go south and deal a few of their UFAs.
However, we’ve already seen the Jets deal an underperforming player this season when they dealt Alexei Ponikarovsky. By the looks of it, it’s quite possible Kevin Cheveldayoff deals another underperforming player and does so very soon.
That player being Kyle Wellwood.
Wellwood is having an atrocious season—on and off the score sheet. You know how with some players who just aren’t getting it done you could make that excuse and say at least he’s doing everything but scoring? You can’t even come close to making that excuse for Wellwood.
In 15 games, Wellwood has a nice blank under the goal column. He only has two points in total. And in almost every game, he’s been completely invisible or nonexistent. I'm trying to be fair here, he's been brutal.
It’s quite a surprise that he’s been this horrible. Last season, he set career-highs with Winnipeg in goals and points. He did so actually looking like a solid and capable player. It’s been a complete reversal in the 15 games this season.
Wellwood is a UFA after this season so the suggestion of trading him isn't that much of a stretch. He's probably going to be traded anyway, but usually teams will wait until the deadline to trade UFAs. The wait is over with Wellwood.
Wellwood has already been a scratch in three games this season including the win on Sunday over New Jersey. It looks like he's in coach Noel's dog house. With Antti Miettinen making his return on Sunday (although it only lasted one shift due to an injury), Wellwood is likely to be a consistent scratch.
The only thing preventing Wellwood from being traded right now is the fact that this team can’t stay healthy it seems. However, there’s no confidence when Wellwood is in the lineup. At this point, one of the kids in St. Johns would fare much better.
As far as what the Jets would garner for Wellwood, well there's a few options. Teams will be interested in Wellwood, but he's not worth much. And the fact that he's a UFA next season makes his worth that much less.
A fourth-round draft pick or higher would be a complete steal. If the Jets continue to suffer long-term injuries on defense, Wellwood could possibly be dealt for just that, a defenseman.
Regardless, if Wellwood doesn’t pick up his game soon, and by soon I mean like two weeks ago, he’ll be the next player to get traded out of Winnipeg this season. He's already past due.