The time is now. Don’t wait. Many teams across the NHL are trading for bad contracts. Recently, we saw the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes strike a deal to send Patrick Marleau to Carolina. The Maple Leafs made the move in an effort to create some more cap space as they look to re-sign Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. While the Winnipeg Jets have a tremendous amount of cap space on paper, they really don’t. You have to keep in mind that a decent percentage of their cap space will be given to Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. Once Laine and Connor have signed on the dotted line, the Jets will have far less cap space.
But, why do they need more cap space?
I’ve got an answer. Centre depth is a concern. After Mark Schiefele, the Winnipeg Jets’ centre depth is weak. Jack Roslovic isn’t ready for a number two role just yet. Bryan Little isn’t producing in the offensive zone at a rate in which he would be considered a permanent second line centre.
Last season, the Winnipeg Jets realized that they had centre depth issues and pulled the trigger to acquire Kevin Hayes in a trade with the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, Jets fans saw that Hayes isn’t really a second line centre either. He’s a great depth centre, but his offensive production isn’t stable.
So, as I was saying if the Jets expect to bolster their centre depth and ink a centre like Matt Duchene, then it’s time to shed some salary.
Little Or Perreault
Last season, Perreault and Little created a ton of primary assists, but failed to register a decent amount of primary shot contributions. When you are paying forwards 4 million plus, you expect a higher amount of primary shot contributions. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Little and Perreault.
In addition, both forwards owned a relatively low Goals Above Replacement (GAR). Perreault owned a slightly higher GAR than Bryan Little, but both forwards were out-muscled by quite a few of their teammates including Jack Roslovic, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor.
What’s odd is that both forwards seem to help spark scoring chances, but they fail to generate a ton of primary shot contributions. Perreault and Little were dependable carry-in specialists for the Jets last season and yet they couldn’t find a way to score goals.
Given the data that we have at our disposal, it seems that the Jets would be better off keeping Little and shedding Perreault. While the Jets could look at moving both, it might be a challenge as Little is on the books for the next few seasons. On the other hand, Perreault doesn’t have much longer to go on his current deal. Perreault’s contract will expire after the 2020-21 season concludes. Since his contract is set to expire sooner, the Jets could look to part ways with the 31 year old Drummondville, Quebec native. There are plenty of teams across the NHL that could use a winger with speed and Perreault could bolster another squad’s lineup.
If the Jets are able to move Perreault, they’ll add a decent chunk of cap space and have some more wiggle room to chase a second line centre.
stats from EvolvingWild, hockey-reference.com, Corey Sznajder