Sunday, July 1, 2012

Winnipeg Jets Won't Fuel Up on Free Agents

The free agent frenzy starts today, July 1, 2012 just in time for Canada Day. It looks like the Jets will not be fueling up on free agents and it may not be their choice but rather the choice of the free agent players or perhaps their adviser's. 

Apparently the honeymoon is over and even the fact the Jets play in front of the best crowd in the league, have several millions of dollars to spend just to get to the salary cap minimum and are the hottest ticket in town are not reason enough for players such as the Nashville Predators’ Ryan Suter, New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise or Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan to jump ship. 

According to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press "many of the free agents list Winnipeg as one of the places they don't want to go". So the jets will have to build via the draft or maybe reach out to a veteran with ties to Winnipeg to turn this team into a contender or rent a player during a playoff run. If that is the case, it will be a long road ahead and we may never get taste champagne from Lord Stanley's Cup. 

The other issue will be retaining Jets players who become 'stars' and want to test the free agent waters. We have seen the Oilers try but fail at that game. There is something fundamentally wrong with the NHL when players don't want to play in real hockey markets but then again many American players have made it clear they don't necessarily want to go play for the Toronto Raptors and we all know that Toronto is the center of the universe. Right? 

The fact of the matter is players should have the right to choose where they want to play as their careers are short and they must make the most of those years. They shouldn't forget that it's a privilege not a right to play in the NHL and by ruling out Winnipeg blindly; they are crossing that fine line between rights and privileges. 

The Jets could use a Ryan Suter or maybe even a crafty vet like a Ray Whitney or Jaromir Jagr but do they really need to pander to players who cannot see the forest through the snow covered trees? Chevy has a tough task ahead of him as he tries to build this squad and it's unfortunate that on Canada Day, we have to be reminded of the downside of playing in the big leagues where the grass is always greener on the other side.

Article by Sportmentary's Winnipeg correspondent, The Comish.

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