According to the latest NHL trade rumors, the Winnipeg Jets could trade forward Nikolaj Ehlers as they try to re-tool. Here’s a look at five teams who would make the most sense for him.
The Winnipeg Jets are going to have an eventful offseason. They only have 14 players signed on their NHL roster. The Jets have several important restricted free agents to re-sign, including Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. For this reason, they’ve been an active team on the trade market. According to the latest NHL trade rumors, the Jets are shopping forward Nikolaj Ehlers.
Elliotte Friedman first discussed the rumors in his 31 Thoughts column in late April. Recently, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic confirmed the Jets are indeed shopping him, though the price tag could be hefty.
According to LeBrun, Winnipeg could seek a defenseman in return. They are likely going to lose defenseman Tyler Myers, who is an unrestricted free agent. On top of that, the Jets are probably going to trade Jacob Trouba, as he has just one year left on his contract and it’s clear he won’t be signing a long-term extension with them.
Ehlers is coming off a down year. He put up 37 points in 62 games, which isn’t terrible. But it’s a pretty clear decline from his previous two seasons. During each of those seasons, Ehlers posted at least 60 points. He didn’t play nearly as much on the power play as he did in previous seasons, which likely contributed to it. Also, according to Evolving Hockey, he had his least valuable season at five-on-five. He has the talent and skill necessary to bounce back.
He has six years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6 million. Which teams would make the most sense for Ehlers? Before we look at the five teams who make the most sense, let’s look at some of the underdogs.
The New Jersey Devils would make sense for Ehlers. They need scoring, after all. However, it’s fair to question if the Devils have the assets necessary to make a competitive offer if the Jets want pieces who can help them right now.
They could probably make one with their own 2019 second-round pick and the RFA rights to Will Butcher, but the last thing the Devils need to do is lose a good defenseman. If they sign Jake Gardiner in free agency, they might be able to afford to trade Sami Vatanen or Butcher.
Likewise, the Montreal Canadiens would certainly benefit from adding someone of Ehlers’ caliber. Victor Mete would probably have to be a part of any deal for him, and I’m not sure the Habs would be willing to move him unless they add another left-handed defenseman. Jeff Petry is another candidate, but the Habs don’t have too many options on their right side.