Free agent fantasies



If you’re a Winnipeg sports franchise, your bank account is a bit dryer than it was a month ago. That’s because both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Winnipeg Jets dropped stacks on stacks on stacks on free agents and soon-to-be free agents.

This might be the last go-around for Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, GM Kyle Walters and maybe even president and CEO Wade Miller. So those guys need to get results – whether it’s making the post season in a league where two-thirds of the teams see a playoff game, or simply putting asses in seats at Investors Group Field.

One of those asses is mine. I’m excited to see what former Roughriders Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith can do while wearing blue and gold, but I’m even more excited to see what Winnipeg-born Andrew Harris can do in front of his childhood friends.

Harris has two 1,000-yard seasons and came within two yards of a third. The man hasn’t even stepped on the field for the Bombers, and he’s already a fan favorite.

I’m sure most people agree the Bombers’ biggest issue is the offensive line, and the team barely addressed that. But we all know the average fan is more excited to buy a jersey with ‘Harris,’ ‘Dressler’ or ‘Smith’ on the back of it than any O-lineman’s.

Whatever happens this season, at least these moves have fans talking about the Blue and Gold in the middle of winter.

And then we move to hockey, where Dustin Byfuglien’s contract is worth more than every player the Bombers have signed, combined. It seems like a bit of a stiff price to pay, but how often does a player like Buff come along?

There are clearly holes in his game – too many penalties and questionable effort sometimes – but the fact is that on any given night, he is the most entertaining Jet on the ice. When he’s on, he alone is worth the price of admission.

Plus, how often does a superstar come along and seem to love this city? It’s clear why Buff is a fan favorite in this town, and I’m happy that it’ll stay that way for the next few years.

Jordan Haslbeck is a reporter for Bison Sports and a mediocre beer-league hockey defenseman. He co-hosts Not Even the Press Box, a weekly radio show about the Winnipeg Jets at radio.