Central Notes: Jets, Tarasenko, Avalanche

The Jets find themselves in a situation that not many expected them to be in at this point of the season as they’re battling for first in the Central Division.  They also happen to have some cap flexibility unlike several of their competitors so they’re likely to be buyers over the next six weeks.  To that end, Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun suggests that Sharks winger Timo Meier could be the right target for Winnipeg.  While a $10MM qualifying offer looms large, that can be overcome with a long-term agreement beforehand while it could also offer some insurance with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Connor Hellebuyck (plus potentially Pierre-Luc Dubois) all set to hit the open market in 2024.  Winnipeg has all their first-round picks and some young prospects that might be intriguing to San Jose should they decide to move on from the 26-year-old.

More from the Central:

  • While Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko won’t play tonight, he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a hand injury, reports Matthew DeFranks of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The veteran suffered the injury on New Year’s Eve and was supposed to be re-evaluated in four weeks to see how much longer he’ll be out.  However, he has already returned to practice and it seems like a matter of days at most before he’ll be able to return.  Tarasenko has 29 points in 34 games this season and would be a welcome addition back to the lineup as St. Louis looks to claw their way back into the playoff race.  If that doesn’t happen, he’ll be an intriguing rental option for teams at the trade deadline.
  • After not picking until the sixth round of the draft last year, it would be understandable for the Avalanche to want to hold onto their first-rounder this season, especially since their next-highest pick is in the fifth round. However, Bennett Durando of The Denver Post posits that with their track record when it comes to first-rounders that are in the back half, they’d be better off moving it to aid in their push for a playoff spot this season.  Colorado enters play today tied for the final Wild Card spot in the West in large part due to a long list of injuries but if and when they can get healthy, they would likely be viewed as a contender even with a lower seed.

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