Winnipeg Jets: Recent Play Could Force Jets to Become Sellers at Trade Deadline

Anthony Capocci@CapocciJETSContributor IApril 2, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 28: Ron Hainsey #6 of the Winnipeg Jets and Brenden Morrow #10 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for position during the third period on February 28, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Vincent Pugliese/ Getty Images)
Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets are in the hunt for postseason. Not only are they in the hunt, but they are currently leading their division. With the trade deadline approaching, however, they are playing themselves right into seller status.

When reality sets in, they might have no choice but to become sellers on Wednesday.

The Southeast Division is heralded as the weakest division in the entire NHL. With the way the Jets play and have been playing as of late, they are lucky to even be in the playoff hunt. A weak division has them in first place.

It may not last much longer.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals are both gaining ground in a hurry. Both teams have games in hand on the Jets. The Hurricanes have played in three fewer games, while the Capitals have played two fewer. Both teams trail the Jets by only four points.

It might be safe to say that the division winner will be the only team to make the playoffs out of the Southeast.

Does that mean the Jets are completely out of it? Not yet. But with the way they’re playing, it may not take much longer. Then again, it seems no one wants to take advantage in the Southeast. Maybe it’s a matter of the team that bleeds out the slowest will win the division. In any case, it’s not looking good for Winnipeg.

The Jets have lost three straight games and six of their last nine. They’ve only managed to score three times during the losing streak. The Jets will be in New York to face the Islanders on Tuesday night—another hungry team jostling for a playoff spot. 

The game in New York is the last game before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

No one said it would be easy battling for the playoffs, but the Jets have had plenty of golden opportunities to which they’ve choked away. Whenever they are tasked with a meaningful game, they lose. They’ve blown opportunities against Washington twice just over a week ago, and they blew another against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The Jets are slumping and at a time when their general manager will have to make vital decisions in the next day. With more than a few pending unrestricted free agents, the Jets may want to go ahead and start trading some away.

At one point, the Jets could have been seen as buyers. They have issues that need to be filled, but management obviously didn’t want to fill them via trade. And now that losses have piled on one another, the Jets may have no choice but to assume the role of sellers.

The Jets have played their way right into a seller's role. Tuesday night’s game could give Kevin Cheveldayoff a more complete idea as to where his club stands before Wednesday’s deadline.