Kevin Cheveldayoff has found a way to get his much needed Salary Cap space in anticipation of signing Paul Stastny and a long list of restricted free agents.
He’s done so by offloading goaltender Steve Mason and his 4.1 million dollar contract as well as restricted free agent forward Joel Armia and a pair of draft picks to the Montreal Candiens. In exchange – along with the needed cap room – the Jets acquired defenseman Simon Bourque.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 30, 2018
The biggest take away from this deal is that the trade should theoretically give the Jets enough room – for this season at the very least – to go forward with the signing of unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny.
Look at this trade in terms over basic value, it’s obvious the Jets have sweetened the pot for the Habs to take on a contract – no salary was retained by the Jets on this deal – by handing over a couple of later round draft picks over the next two years, but the player the Jets got back in this deal is actually a pretty strong prospect.
Who Is Simon Bourque?
The 21 year old left handed defenseman from Quebec was a member of the Laval Rocket of the AHL last season where he had three assists in 46 games played in a somewhat disappointing first full season as a pro.
Last fall, the Canadiens blog “Eyes On The Prize” had him ranked as their 17th best Habs prospect under the age of 25.
Bourque is not only a capable offensive contributor; he is dynamic. He will start plays from the back end thanks to great passing and rush ability, but his play without the puck holds just as much talent.
He was a QMJHL second team all-star in the 2016-17 season, a season where he helped the Saint John Sea Dogs win the QMJHL championship – his second, the first coming with the Rimouski Oceanic in 2015.
But really, it’s about the cap space
Getting Steve Mason off the books is a huge win for the Jets going forward. As I stated a few days ago, keeping a 4.1 million dollar backup goalie was not a wise way for a team to go forward even not facing a cap crunch.
John Malloy deserves credit for pointing out that not only was Mason an ideal candidate to be traded, but so was Joel Armia.
“Armia is a perfectly fine fourth line depth player, but he is due for a pay raise. As small as it may be, the Jets have some penny pinching to do, and Armia’s 29 points will warrant around $1M more than the $925,000 he earned last season. It doesn’t even have to be Petan. Armia is easily replaceable, so why not save a buck where you can?”
It looks like the Jets have now saved enough bucks to land easily the second best free agent option that may not even be available on July 1.