In an effort to try to free up some cap space, the Jets have shopped winger Mathieu Perreault around in the past, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts column. He adds that Winnipeg is expected to do so once again this summer.
GM Kevin Chevelayoff has quite a tricky road to navigate this offseason. He has a lengthy list of free agents; among the 14 regulars on the roster in need of new deals are wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor plus defenseman Jacob Trouba (all restricted) along with center Kevin Hayes and Tyler Myers (both unrestricted). All of those players are in line for raises – some quite substantial – and considering they already have more than $55.5MM committed for next season, they’re going to have to free up quite a bit of cap room.
That’s where Perreault and his $4.125MM AAV come in. He’s certainly still an effective player with at least 30 or more points in seven of the last eight seasons (the one where he came up short was the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign) while his ability to play all three forward positions certainly helps as well. But with all of the players in need of new contracts, he’s a luxury that they can’t really afford now.
Unfortunately for the Jets, that’s something that every team knows which is going to make a fair trade that much more difficult for Cheveldayoff. It was only back in June when they needed to attach winger Joel Armia plus a pair of draft picks in order to offload the final year of goalie Steve Mason’s contract on Montreal. While Perreault can still fit in nicely on a third line, the fact that he has two years left on his deal (a much greater financial commitment) will make it harder to receive top value in return. But knowing what’s on the horizon, there’s a good chance they’ll have to move Perreault out no matter what, even if the return isn’t ideal.