BOSTON - The calendar says Free Agent Frenzy begins on Canada Day.
But for the Winnipeg Jets, the deadline might as well be June 23 – the opening of the unrestricted free agent interview period – when it comes to keeping Tyler Myers.
Now that GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a clearer picture of what RFA defenceman Jacob Trouba can fetch in a trade, the Jets have re-engaged with Myers’ camp on bringing back the 6-foot-8 blueliner.
The two sides met at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo last week.
The question is: Can the Jets entice Myers enough in the next two and a half weeks to not go to market? He’s made it this far and the pull to at least listen in the courting process is strong.
Myers would draw no shortage of interest on the open market. The Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars are among the teams potentially interested in signing Myers, though you could probably pencil in more than half the league as keen on the idea of adding a right-shooting defenceman of his calibre.
Myers, 29, collected nine goals and 31 points for the Jets last season. He would likely earn a $6-plus million AAV from market on a long-term deal.
Could the Jets, amid their cap crunch, possibly convince him to stay with a cap hit in the high $5 million neighbourhood? It would probably be a slight discount, but the Jets can offer what others can’t: familiarity, a chance to win and an increased role with Trouba vacating a spot on the right side of the Jets’ depth chart.
They’re working on it. But the clock is ticking.
Myers is up to No. 7 on TSN Hockey’s latest Free Agent Frenzy Top 30 list, second only to Erik Karlsson among UFA defencemen.
Six new names joined the board, including Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner of the Islanders (No. 12), Lightning defenceman Anton Stralman (19), Jets blueliner Ben Chiarot (25), Blues’ Game 7 hero Pat Maroon (28), Oilers winger Alex Chiasson (29) and Predators pick-up Brian Boyle (30).
The Jets traded the negotiating rights of Kevin Hayes (No. 17) to Philadelphia on Monday, but Hayes re-signing with the Flyers does not appear to be imminent.
No player has put more money in his pocket this spring than Boston Bruins forward Marcus Johansson. Finally healthy, it has been an impressive playoff run for ‘JoJo’, the former 58-point scorer. He’s got four goals and seven critical assists, forming a dynamic duo with fellow deadline acquisition Charlie Coyle. For Johansson, a return to Washington may be in the cards if the money makes sense.
Here is TSN Hockey’s latest Free Agent Frenzy Top 30 list:
The Top 30