Nate Schmidt: Trade or buyout?

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Waldner
1 month ago
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The Winnipeg Jets defenseman with one of the most hideous NHL defensemen contracts may be traded or bought out this upcoming offseason.
Nate Schmidt, 32, was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Winnipeg Jets on July 27, 2021, in exchange for a Jets 2022 3rd round draft pick (Jordan Gustafson), which set the stage for Schmidt’s 4 years in Winnipeg.
As we look at this year, we can definitely say that trade was very questionable as Schmidt this season has been in and out of the lineup for Logan Stanley and Colin Miller. His regular season stats included 2 goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 63 games played, and in the postseason, he played in 3 games and scored 1 goal for a total of 1 point. It’s safe to say that your $5.95M AAV 3rd pair defenseman who is in and out of the lineup does not look very good from a general manager’s standpoint.
Prior to the season, Ville Heinola was set to be in the lineup, and we can presume that Schmidt would have been the seventh defenseman. Dylan Samberg and Heinola could have been the third pairing for the majority of the season had the Finnish-born defender not been hurt late in the preseason.
Now to the whole point of this article: do we trade or buy out Nate Schmidt’s contract?
If you’re Kevin Cheveldayoff and you are going to try to trade his atrocious contract, it will for sure be a challenge to find an organization that will want to deal with that sort of contract of a guy who is so inconsistently in and out of the lineup. But if a team decides to take the risk, the Jets will likely get a low-value return of maybe a couple of 2nd-3rd round draft picks. Then that organization is going to have to deal with that contract until he becomes a UFA at the end of the 2024-2025 season.
However, if Cheveldayoff decides he wants to buy out, which I believe he will, then it will be a better and simpler process compared to going through the trouble of trying to trade that ugly contract to another organization. In order for the buyout to take place, then Chevy is going to have to buy out 2/3 of Schmidt’s salary ($4.85M) since he is over the age of 26. Which would cost $3.23M or $3,233,333 to be exact. The buyout period can start on June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Playoffs conclude. The buyout period ends June 30th at 5 pm EST.
If a trade or buyout does happen, which it likely will, it’s not like the Jets will have a shortage of defensemen; they have so many guys in the system that there should be no concern at all. Guys like Dylan DeMelo (UFA), Brenden Dillon (UFA), Logan Stanley (RFA), Ville Heinola (RFA), and Colin Miller (UFA) are all guys that need new contracts but are more than likely going to re-sign with the Jets as some have shown interest in resigning.
Taking all the factors into account, we know for sure that something is going to be dealt with this summer about Nate Schmidt. We don’t know if that’ll be a trade or a buyout, but it’ll be one or the other of those two options. We will just have to sit back and wait for the decision to take place.

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