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Photo Credit: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating Contract Values – Mathieu Perreault

This is the second of an 8-part series evaluating how several of the Jets have performed against their recently signed contracts. In each article, I’ll look at the season or seasons that preceded the signing of their contract, who their comparables were at the time, and how they have performed since the new contract began. In evaluating the new contract performance, I will pull comparables, and use their average annual cap hit to determine if the contract turned out to be good value, average value, or poor value.

Rating the Contracts

Each contract will be rated on a scale from Great Value (5/5) to Terrible Value (1/5). The rating will be based on the difference between the original signed AAV, and the current market value.

Great Value: Current Market Value >20% higher than original signed AAV

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Good Value: Current Market Value between 5% and 20% higher than original signed AAV

Average Value: Current Market Value between 5% lower and 10% higher than original signed AAV

Poor Value: Current Market Value between 5% and 20% lower than original signed AAV

Terrible Value: Current Market Value <20% lower than original signed AAV

 

The History

In the summer of 2014, after a 3rd straight non-playoff season, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made arguably his most impactful free agent signing. With Olli Jokinen leaving in free agency, the Jets needed a new centreman. Cheveldayoff would find his replacement, picking up Mathieu Perreault from the Anaheim Ducks on a 3-year, $9 million contract.

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In his first season with the Jets, Perreault would make an immediate impact with his new team. Despite missing 20 games due to injury, he would tie a career high with 18 goals, and add 23 assists for 41 points, as the Jets made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In the playoffs, Perreault recorded 2 assists in the 3 games he played against his former team. The exclamation point of his season came in a January game against Florida, where he put up 4 goals in an 8-2 win.

In 2015-16, Perreault would set another career high, this time in assists with 32 in 71 games. He was limited to just 9 goals, resulting in him matching his 41-point output from 2014-15. His season was cut short after suffering a concussion in a game against Anaheim, resulting in him missing the final 11 games of the season.

After his first two seasons in Winnipeg, the Jets were eager to keep Perreault in the fold long-term, and signed him to a 4-year contract extension after the 2015-16 season, with an average annual value of $4.125 million. His contract included a modified no-trade clause, where he can submit a list of 5 teams he cannot be traded to (as per CapFriendly).

“His game is an infectious game. He’s a guy that likes the puck on his stick and makes plays…Has shown his versatility in a lot of different areas.” – Kevin Cheveldayoff on re-signing Perreault

In 2016-17, it appeared that Perreault would provide great value for the contract, as he would match his career high in assists with 32, and add 13 goals to set a new career high in points with 45. He set this career high even while missing 17 games due to 2 separate injuries. His 45 points matched the season totals posted by Jordan Staal (making $6 million), Kyle Okposo (making $6 million), and Travis Zajac (making $5.75 million).

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Since the Contract Began

In 2017-18, Perreault returned to his goal scoring ways, posting 17 goals in the regular season, his highest total since his first season with the Jets in 2014-15. He added 22 assists for 39 points total, despite missing 12 games due to a lower body injury suffered in early October. Perreault also posted 1 goal in 9 playoff games, scoring in Game 5 of the 2nd round against Nashville during the Jets’ run to the Western Conference final.

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In 2018-19, Perreault finally was able to play a full season without injury. After missing 50 games due to injury in his first 4 seasons as a Jet, Perreault played all 82 regular season games. However, in those 82 games, he posted his lowest point total as a Jet, recording just 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points. Perreault also saw a reduction in his role this season, recording his lowest average ice time as a Jet (12:14 per game). His 15 goals was also higher than expected, as he recorded a shooting percentage of 15.8%, which was his highest since a 26.7% percentage in his first full season with Washington in 2011-12. In the playoffs, Perreault recorded 2 assists in 5 games, as the Jets lost in 6 games to St Louis.

This season, Perreault’s injury history reared its ugly head again. First, he missed 6 games in December after suffering an upper body injury on a blindside hit from Philadelphia’s Joel Farabee.

After returning for 13 games in January, he suffered another upper body injury on a hit from Boston’s Karson Kuhlman which cost him 16 games. In the 49 games he played this season, he recorded just 7 goals and 8 assists for 15 points, all of which were his lowest totals since the lockout shortened season in 2013.

 

The Comparables – Market Value Evaluation

When comparing Perreault’s performance over the last 3 regular seasons, there are three main comparables. These are Pittsburgh’s @Conor Sheary, New Jersey’s @Miles Wood, and Colorado’s @JT Compher. A comparison of their regular season stats is in the table below:

Statistic M. Perreault C. Sheary M. Wood J. Compher
GP 201 220 207 202
G 39 42 40 40
A 45 45 39 46
PTS 84 87 79 86
+/- -6 -21 -35 -28
PIM 92 32 232 69
TOI/G 13:13 13:57 13:05 16:44
PP TOI/G 1:42 1:22 0:59 2:27
SH TOI/G 0:01 0:01 0:01 1:51
FO% 55.0% 49.0% 33.3% 47.4%
Corsi % 53.2% 51.1% 47.4% 47.0%
Fenwick % 52.0% 51.1% 48.2% 46.7%
2017-18 AAV $4,125,000 $3,000,000 $925,000 $925,000
2018-19 AAV $4,125,000 $3,000,000 $2,750,000 $925,000
2019-20 AAV $4,125,000 $3,000,000 $2,750,000 $3,500,000
Average AAV $4,125,000 $3,000,000 $2,141,667 $1,833,333

Based on the table, the average AAV over the 3 years for Perreault’s comparables is $2,325,000. This is a decrease of $1,800,000 compared to Perreault’s AAV, or a 44% decrease in market value compared to Perreault’s original contract value.

 

Conclusion

Mathieu Perreault has arguably been the Jets’ most impactful free agent signing from another NHL team. However, his injury history has prevented him from having an even bigger impact on the Jets roster. At the time his extension was signed, it appeared to be a bargain given the company he was keeping statistically, as well as the consistency with which he put these numbers up season after season. The last two seasons have seen a significant decline in his stats, taking him out of the company he was keeping, and putting him in the range of some lower-end bottom 6 forwards. With only 1 season left on his contract, and a limited no-trade contract, he could be a buyout candidate to save the Jets some cap in the short term. However, his versatility when he is in the lineup makes him a valuable piece if the Jets would like to re-tool on the fly going into 2020-21.

Contract Rating: Poor Value (1/5)