ANALYSIS: Jets GM has his work cut out for him on the free agency front

analysis: jets gm has his work cut out for him on the free agency front
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analysis: jets gm has his work cut out for him on the free agency front

With less than two weeks remaining before the free agent market opens for business, there are significant question marks for the Winnipeg Jets, but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is far from alone in that regard.

This past week featured the first activity on the restricted and unrestricted free agent front since the start of June, when reports surfaced that Carolina signed defenceman Jalen Chatfield to a three-year, $9-million deal, and Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko accepted New York’s $2.4-million qualifying offer.

Neither team has officially confirmed either contract, by the way.

Yes, there have been some other one-way deals completed prior to May 31, like former Jets backup goalie David Rittich in LA, Chicago inking Lukas Reichel, and Kurtis MacDermid in New Jersey. But none of those would be considered “significant.”

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As we potentially head into the official start of the business season this week, maybe in less than 48 hours if Florida recovers from that Game 4 debacle on Saturday night, there are just over 400 players who fall into the category of pending restricted and unrestricted free agent, or entering the 2024-25 season on an expiring contract.

Of the 170 or so players who are eligible to test the free agent market on July 1, 21 of them are involved, in one way or another, in the Stanley Cup Final.

Winnipeg has seven pending UFAs and another seven players who are part of the expiring contract club, in addition to the RFA deals needed for Cole Perfetti, David Gustafsson, and Logan Stanley.

So yes, Cheveldayoff has his work cut out for him. But check CapFriendly — while you still can — and you’ll find there are at least a dozen or so GMs of the other 15 teams who made the playoffs in the very same boat.

It might be a little early for “that ship has sailed” proclamations, with all parties seemingly in no hurry to be first out of the gate.

analysis: jets gm has his work cut out for him on the free agency front
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