Winnipeg Jets: Should Jets Take a Chance on Cory Conacher?

Anthony CapocciContributor IMarch 4, 2014

Ottawa Senators left wing Cory Conacher (89) skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Winnipeg Jets will be looking to bolster their roster for a strong playoff push by Wednesday's NHL trade deadline. They might be able to do so without giving up any assets.

The Ottawa Senators placed forward Cory Conacher on waivers Tuesday afternoon according to CBC. The Senators acquired Conacher from the Tampa Bay Lightning near the 2013 trade deadline in exchange for breakout goaltender Ben Bishop. The unsuspecting waive comes as a shock.

Now comes waiver-wire guru Kevin Cheveldayoff into the picture.

The Jets currently have the 12th priority in the waiver order. Conacher would have to get passed on by 11 other teams for Cheveldayoff to even have a chance. It seems unlikely.

If Conacher were to make it to the Jets spot, would Cheveldayoff pull the trigger? It's a no-brainer.

Cheveldayoff has a history with the waiver wire as he's claimed a number of players through that system in the past. He's made a living there. Why not once more? Again, this is all theoretical assuming Conacher gets passed by 11 others.

In Conacher's case, he'd be an instant upgrade on the Jets third line. And the best part of the deal is that the Jets wouldn't have to give up any assets. It would also make, say, UFA forward Devin Setoguchi expendable.

It makes even more sense considering the Jets are two points out of a playoff spot and want to add to their roster for a push. Cheveldayoff wouldn't have to sacrifice his "five-year plan" mentality. He can still show signs that he wants the playoffs now.

Conacher was struggling with the Senators this season, scoring only four times in 59 games with a total of 20 points. However, he's only 24 years old. He's only played in 106 career NHL games. So you see why the waive comes as a surprise.

It's all-but-guaranteed Conacher will be claimed by some team. But the question is who? Plenty of teams could benefit from his help. He's a small risk with a high reward payout. I'd be surprised if he made it to the Jets, and I'd be even more surprised if Cheveldayoff passes over him.

The waiver wire may be a cheap, budget strategy, but it's also a smart one. If the Jets plan on staying quiet on Wednesday via the trade front, maybe the waiver wire will suffice again.