Tag: Drew Stafford

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Three

It’s Winnipeg Jets day at PHT


Using the term “close sweep” might start a brawl at the wrong Winnipeg bar, yet it feels like a reasonable depiction of the Jets’ first-round exit.

Whether you agree or disagree about their margin of defeat against the Anaheim Ducks, the bottom line is that if you trace the Jets’ history back to the Thrashers era, the franchise remains at zero playoff wins all-time.

Yes, as in they haven’t ever won a playoff game not a series.

Despite that doom and gloom, Jets were a popular dark horse candidate heading into the 2015 postseason for a reason. They were an impressive possession team by most metrics.

Winnipeg combined an increasingly deep defense corps with its underrated high-end forwards to scare at least a few Western Conference observers. Hey, they even occasionally received competent goaltending, albeit from an uneven mix of Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec.

(There was some poetic justice in Pavelec playing out of his mind down the stretch to get them into the playoffs.)

It all feels empty thanks to the sweep, but the Jets zoomed up a level or two in 2014-15. As wild card berths go, Winnipeg can point to some positives.

Off-season recap

The biggest change technically happened during the season, yet the Evander Kane swap is significant enough to at least get a quick mention.

It’s relevant enough to the summer anyway, as Drew Stafford played well enough to gain a two-year deal that carries a $4.35 million cap hit. Stafford is sticking around, while a surprise return is in store for Alex Burmistrov, who went on a two-year KHL sojourn.

Michael Frolik headlines a group of departing players who helped move the needle a bit depth-wise, also including Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty and T.J. Galiardi.

Maybe the most significant off-season storyline is what Winnipeg did not do: Dustin Byfuglien and captain Andrew Ladd are currently entering the final season of their respective contracts.

Stafford ‘closing in’ on deal with Jets (Update: two years, $8.7 million)

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Three

Drew Stafford is “closing in on a deal to remain a Winnipeg Jet,” according to his agent, Scott Bartlett.

Bartlett tweeted the update out this afternoon.

We wrote about Stafford’s pending UFA status here.

It was reported earlier this month that Stafford and the Jets were working on an extension.

The 29-year-old winger was traded from Buffalo to Winnipeg in February and proceeded, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice, to make a “huge impact” with his new team.


Club press release here.

UFA of the Day: Drew Stafford

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Three

Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Drew Stafford

Recently, it was reported that the Jets and Stafford were working on a contract extension. No surprise there, after the 29-year-old was traded from Buffalo to Winnipeg and proceeded, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice, to make a “huge impact.”

Stafford finished with nine goals and 10 assists in 26 games for the Jets, an 82-game pace of 28 goals and 32 assists. Even in a limited sample, it reminded everyone that Stafford once scored 31 goals in 62 games for the Sabres.

Still, there are those who think the Jets should move on, perhaps in favor of top prospect Nikolaj Ehlers. Winnipeg also has to be mindful of its spending, considering Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd can become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Which takes us nicely into these tweets, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

Besides Stafford, the Jets’ other UFA forwards include Michael Frolik, Jiri Tlusty, Jim Slater and Lee Stempniak.

Click here for more UFAs.