|Winnipeg Jets brass woud likely be more than active to retain their players over losing them.|
(Photo Courtesy WinnipegJets.com)
With the negotiations of now-RFA forward and 30 goal scorer Evander Kane ongoing and the saga of the Shea Weber offer sheet now thankfully behind us, one thing sprung to my mind as Nashville retained the services of their franchise defenseman:
Would the Winnipeg Jets do the same thing?
My answer: Absolutely!
Currently, co-owner of True North Sports & Entertainment David Thomson is the richest man in Canada according to Forbes magazine (Forbes Online) at a net worth of $17.5 billion dollars, placing him comfortably in the world's top 50 richest people.
It was his investment in Winnipeg, though he lives in Toronto, that was a large part of bringing NHL hockey back to Winnipeg.
So why would someone who is worth billions of dollars not throw their weight around if another NHL owner wants to steal his superstar?
Looking at the Nashville situation, and having likened the Jets ownership and on-ice situation to that of the Jets (If Nashville Is the Benchmark, Jets Fans Need Not Wait Long, Jets All Out, 05/02/2012), would Thomson, Mark Chipman, and True North have waited as long to match an offer sheet on a Weber-like player?
My answer: Absolutely not!
If there were a team to sign Evander Kane to an offer sheet this afternoon, there would be a guarantee that the Jets would have matched it by the evening news before you could sit down for dessert.
For hockey in Winnipeg to be successful and continue to thrive, the team and its fans need to retain the high end quality players they already have in blue and white and not be forced to play with a team that is not the framework Chipman, Thomson, and company have built upon.
Of course, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, Chipman, and Thomson would have a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of matching any offer sheet for any RFA on the Jets roster, but it would all come back to the fact that they brought hockey back here for a reason.
And they want to be competitive and build.
The only way to build is up.
And so, offer sheet or not, True North's stance is: Don't Bully Us Around.