Maybe it's time for the Winnipeg Jets to just blow it up.
Set the charges. Light the fuse and run for cover. And then, once the smoke lifts and the dust settles, see what you have that can be salvaged and start over.
Built from the frustration of a middling campaign, this has been a common sentiment around these parts.
After every loss, the typical reaction: trade this guy, trade that guy, blow it up.
Pressing down on the plunger probably sounds a little extreme given the Jets' circumstances after a 4-1 loss over the Nashville Predators at MTS Centre Thursday night, but at this point of the season — with 35 games to go — we might be witnessing the beginning of the end.
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
The shorthanded, depth-challenged Jets (they were without four regulars Thursday) have lost two straight at home, and have just two wins in their last seven games. Winnipeg (21-23-3) is currently 2-4-0 on this critical 10-game stretch of the schedule, and face the daunting task of not only trying to climb back into the post-season race but doing it while trying to climb up, over and around 5-6 other clubs looking to do the same thing.
It will take a miraculous run of success to bridge the gap and separate from the other Western Conference lightweights.
Anything is possible? That phrase of hope, coupled with some Rosary beads, is what many are holding onto these days.
So maybe it's time to blow it up. How does one go about doing that?
Blowing it up is tricky when you look at the roster and what there is contract-wise. You already know about the situation surrounding Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Both veterans are pending unrestricted free agents and both have big dreams of big free agent dollars — whether that dough arrives this season (unlikely) or later this summer.
The argument for moving on from Ladd and Byfuglien is two-fold: a) they'll be too expensive for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to manage his internally-capped roster in the years to come, and b) the organization needs to turn the page on Atlanta.
Blow it up, you say? Moving those two out for draft picks and prospects is a good start — if the club chooses to do that.
After them, the blowing up process gets a lot tougher.
Adam Pardy are Matt Halischuk are scheduled to be UFAs after this year, too. They won't fetch much, one (correctly) assumes.
Mark Scheiefle, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry have expiring contracts but forget about them. They're still under club control and, given their ages and potential, are not going anywhere. Same with rookie Nikolaj Ehlers.
Michael Hutchinson is slated to be a restricted free agent; thanks to the emergence of Connor Hellebuyck, his future (and value) is murky.
Meanwhile, Blake Wheeler and Tyler Myers are locked up for three more years after this one. Bryan Little has two more left. While the three would certainly have some value on the trade market, their current team-friendly contracts are far more valuable in Manitoba.
Perhaps your version of blowing it up calls on Cheveldayoff to get creative.
Maybe to move an older player of value for a prospect, say like a Drew Stafford, Mathieu Perreault or Ondrej Pavelec (all three with one year left on deals after this season), the GM will have to swallow some money to make it work.
Given the nature of the business of this franchise, though, that doesn't seem likely. Internal cap teams don't make it a habit of flushing cash down the drain.
A popular target these days is Toby Enstrom. You want to trade him? He's got two more years at a $5.75-million cap hit. Oh, and one other thing: name another left-handed defenceman who can log big minutes in the organization. The answer: there isn't one.
And as for players like Chris Thorburn and Mark Stuart, the Jets would definitely have to eat some money to move on from either of them. Not happening.
As you can gather, blowing it up isn't as easy as some want it to be. There doesn't seem to be a quick solution to fix whatever is ailing this roster, and only once the Ladd and Byfuglien drama is resolved will we see what direction this organization is headed.
Maybe the Jets are in line for a Top 3 pick this summer.
Maybe fighting for eighth place every year is good enough for some.
Either way, call off the bomb squad.
There will be no need to evacuate MTS Centre.