Now officially out of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets are allowed to negotiate trades with other teams also no longer in the postseason running. Also, with approximately eight 2019-20 regulars on expiring deals, a number of current Jets players will be requiring new contracts for the coming season, as the free agency period opens this fall.
Despite roughly 50 days before any major transactions are expected to occur in Winnipeg, news regarding player movement has already begun. Most notably, the loaning of current players, prospects and draft picks overseas as a way to allow the players more ice-time and game action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With hockey across the globe having come to an abrupt half in mid-March, many players have been without skate and ice contact for the better part of five months – quite possibly, the longest stretch of most professional hockey players’ lives.
As a way of solving the issue on a short-term basis, teams within the NHL have begun loaning their players to known affiliated teams in leagues that are set to begin action, or open up exhibition play in the coming days/weeks. These loans come in the form of contracts carrying ‘out clauses’, allowing the players to return to North America for the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
For Winnipeg, a handful of players within the organization have already signed agreements with various clubs over the past number of days. At this point, the following players have found new homes for the coming months:
- Pending RFA forward Michael Spacek signed a one year contract with Tappara Tampere in Finland (probably will not return to the Jets/Moose).
- Ville Heinola has been assigned to Rauman Lukko for the beginning of the Liiga season.
- Joona Luoto has also joined Spacek in his hometown of Tappara. No official deal has been publicly announced.
- Andrei Chibisov has signed a three-year contract with his former KHL host team Metallurg Magnitogorsk (will not return to the Jets/Moose).
- David Gustafsson has signed with Tingsryds AIF
- Leon Gawanke is currently in negotiations with the Eisbaron Berlin Polar Bears.
- Arvid Holm has been assigned to Farjestad BK of the SHL.
- JC Lipon has recently signed with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga (will not return to the Jets/Moose).
*Other promising prospects to keep an eye on over the next few weeks are Kristian Vesalainen, Sami Niku and Mikhail Berdin.