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Aftermath of the trade

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Aftermath of the trade

Messagepar Winnipeg » 24 Août 2017, 10:53

On Day 56, the GM Thouin went ahead and made a trade that he thought would eventually mark the end of the Jets season, throwing in the towel. At that point, the team was 15-19-4, out of playoff contention, and by no means the competitive team that the league had seen in the past 2 seasons. It was then that GM Thouin thought it was time to go ahead and shake things up with a trade.

From Jets to Bulls :
Craig Kowalski (87),
Bill Gall (82),
Magnus Kahnberg (85),
Morgan Samuelsson (83).

From Bulls to Jets :
Will Fortin (72),
Marvis Connaughton (76),
Georg Lehtipuro (76),
Paul Reifenberger (82),
Y:24-RND:2-SAB.

At first glance, it may seem that this is a lopsided trade. But, taking into consideration the age, status and contract value of the players involved, it made sense to trade these players.

Kowalski is a super talented underachieving player. An incredible scoring potential that has never developed. He was kept in the team mainly for his leadership abilities, as he had been alternate captain for a long time with the Jets. He was brought up in the Jets farm system and played on the first two lines pretty much for his whole career. Deemed as a goal scorer, his best season was 22 goals. In the points column, he never managed more than 68 points playing with the team's top players. With an average of 4.4 million on the salary cap for this season and the next, he became very much expandable. As much as it saddened GM Thouin, Kowalski had to go.

Kahnberg was held responsible for a lot of the team's problems at the beginning of the season. With a 71 point season 2 seasons ago when the Jets won their first of 2 championships, he dropped down to only 59 points last season and this season was not going to be any better. That, even though he was playing with Major and Caldwell on the team's first line. His -11 rating is what irritated GM Thouin when the team was suffering. Major and Caldwell were suffering offensively because of Kahnberg's defensive problems and he just had to go. He still had a cheap contract, but the trouble of keeping him on the first line just wasn't worth it.

Samuelsson was a harder pill to pass. His defensive ability was a great asset for the Jets (+27 last season and +2 on a losing team this season), but in order to get the wanted players out of San Antonio, he had to go. He will be dearly missed. Hopefully he can come back in the Jets roster in the future.

Bill Gall was expandable and was just added to balance the trade out.

Paul Reifenberger came in not knowing what to expect in Winnipeg. Struggling with the Bulls with only 3 goals in 35 games, he was added to the first line with Major and Caldwell. He has score 12 goals in 37 games since coming to Winnipeg. His leadership will be a big factor for the Jets in the playoffs, but he will not return to the team and he will be able to test free agency in the off-season.

Lehtipuro, Connaughton and Fortin will be part of the future of the team. Lehtipuro will be an excellent defensive dman that will compensate for the loss of Samuelsson. We expect to see him blossom and break the top 4 in 2 or 3 seasons. Fortin will be a very good defensive center with an offensive upside. As for Connaughton, he needs to polish his all-around game, which will eventually make him a very valuable all-around player.

The Jets also acquired a second round pick in the next junior draft.

Even though big pieces of the puzzle left the team, the pieces that were added did a great job merging everything together. At this point, the Jets are playoff contenders and may end up causing surprises when the playoffs start.
Steff
DG Winnipeg
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