It’s that crazy time of year again.
With less than a week before the NHL trade deadline, general managers around the league are putting in hours of overtime, working tirelessly to add the extra pieces in hopes of a long playoff run.
But when it comes to the Winnipeg Jets, it’s tough to tell whether they’ll be buyers or sellers come April 3.
You’d have to expect Winnipeg GM Kevin Chevaldayoff will be mulling over the market till then.
The Jets are currently atop the Southeast Division — clinging ever so tightly to the third slot in the conference standings — but are still in desperate need of improvement in many areas.
Whether it happens in the next six days or not, top priority will be to acquire a second-line centreman to play with Evander Kane.
Depth, toughness and playoff experience are also on the Jets’ wish list. With that in mind, here are a few players rumoured to be available that the Jets should be interested in:
1. Mike Ribeiro, centre, Washington Capitals
Washington sits four points out of a playoff spot and besides two convincing wins against the Jets in recent days, have shown little to prove they have what it takes to make the playoffs.
The Capitals have little wiggle room with next year’s payroll and reports suggest they’ll move the 33-year-old centre for the right deal.
Ribeiro is coming off a five-year, $25-million contract and will most likely warrant a similar price tag from interested teams. He has 35 points in 33 games this year.
Player upside: He’s a solid playmaker. He moves the puck well and would be a great line-mate for Evander Kane.
Give in return: A conditional second-round draft pick and Paul Postma.
2. David Clarkson, right-winger, New Jersey Devils
Clarkson, who turns 29 on Easter Sunday, came blazing out of the gates this season, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the first 12 games.
He’s since slowed down, along with a New Jersey team who’ve dropped four of the past six.
A few more losses and the Devils could find themselves out of the playoff picture and looking to deal. Clarkson is in his final season of a three-year, $8-million dollar deal.
Player upside: He’s a gritty forward that plays tough and with a lot of heart. He gained some major playoff experience last season, playing a key role in why New Jersey made the Stanley Cup Final. His style of play is in line with what Jets fans want and cheer for.
Give in return: A conditional second-round draft pick and Nik Antropov or Alex Burmistrov.
3. Mason Raymond, left-winger, Vancouver Canucks
The 27-year-old Raymond has nine goals on the year, tied with Daniel Sedin for the team lead in Vancouver.
He took a pay cut in the off-season, signing a one-year contract worth just under $2.5 million after being bumped to the third line.
As it stands today, the Canucks are less than $4-million from the cap ceiling next year with 13 contracts expiring by the end of the 2013 campaign. They need to dump some money.
Player upside: He’s fast and versatile. He can play in almost every position. He’s a character guy who’s earns every minute of his ice-time.
Give in return: A conditional second-round draft pick and Nik Antropov. Now remember, at this point these are just players rumoured to move by the deadline.
The Jets have been tight-lipped about the deadline and will likely remain that way for the rest of the week.
But crazier things have happened.
Thursday morning the Calgary Flames dealt veteran Jarome Iginla to the power-house Pittsburgh Penguins for two prospects and a late first-round draft pick.
Before choosing a player you suspect might crack the Jets gamesheet before next week, you must consider a couple things: the premium the Jets would have to pay for any top-six forward and the level of desire a player would have to come to a team who may well be years away from making a notable playoff run.
The Jets most likely won’t be making the biggest splash come trade deadline, but with 14 games left in the season, the Jets are in good position to grow with one of these players.
If the deal were to happen, the Jets would become a better team.