ANALYSIS: Winnipeg Jets don’t want to be latecomers to trade deadline – Winnipeg

The NHL’s trade deadline is set for March 3, which by my count is three weeks today.

And we’re already getting not-so-subtle hints about how monumental the trade market just might be.

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Two big ones are already done — Horvat to the Islanders and Tarasenko to the Rangers. That probably speaks to the competitive nature of the Metropolitan Division right now. Both New York teams had high hopes before the season, and both have to be considered underachievers to this point … but that should change, and quickly.

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One has to wonder if these deals for elite players will ignite the fuse to more deals well before the deadline. The list of quality players is long, and I can only imagine the demand will increase quickly now that GMs like Lamoriello and Drury have started to shop.

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Key reasons to trade now are those tight races — every win means something in the standings. The Rangers have 11 games before March 3, and the selling team certainly doesn’t want to risk their player getting injured before he can be traded – get it done sooner than later.

Ryan O’Reilly in St. Louis and Timo Meier in San Jose are both going to be hot commodities, as will be Jakob Chychrun (who’s been on the block all season) and John Klingberg — two D-men with huge upsides, playing on inferior teams.

With the West so competitive, you have to think there are at least nine GMs, including Kevin Cheveldayoff right here in Winnipeg, that don’t want to be late to this big dance.

By the way, I’m not even including the Hawks’ Toews and Kane, who have yet to decide whether they want to be moved or not, which is why the Rangers opted for the Blues’ Tarasenko.

Yes, the deadline is set for March 3, but don’t be surprised if all the quality players have already been dealt well before that first Friday in March.

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