With the Jets moving Pierre-Luc Dubois earlier this summer, they have a vacancy to fill down the middle in their top six. Although Cole Perfetti spent last season on the wing, he told Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press that he thinks he could fill that role for Winnipeg in 2023-24. The 21-year-old is a natural middleman but has yet to play a full season at the NHL level after an upper-body injury cost him the final two months of last year plus their first-round series against Vegas. Perfetti will likely be battling Gabriel Vilardi (who came over in the Dubois trade) for the second-line center role with Vladislav Namestnikov also being a possible option after he served in that role at times following his acquisition at the trade deadline back in March. With Perfetti entering the final year of his entry-level deal, demonstrating that he could be a long-term solution down the middle would certainly bolster his case heading into contract talks.
Elsewhere in the Central:
- Long-time NHL center Brad Richardson is joining the scouting ranks as he recently revealed on the PHNX Coyotes Podcast (video link) that has been hired by the Flames as a Western Conference pro scout. The 38-year-old had a 17-year NHL career with six different teams, playing primarily in a checking role while being above-average at the faceoff dot. This will be his first off-ice role after hanging up his skates in 2022.
- Ian Mendes and Shayna Goldman of The Athletic assess (subscription link) the remaining restricted free agents around the NHL including Wild blueliner Calen Addison. Last month, it was reported that the team hopes Addison would either take his qualifying offer worth $787.5K or sign for close to it. However, the contract various projection models place his value closer to twice that value. Minnesota has around $1.6MM in cap space at the moment per CapFriendly but also needs to keep some money for in-season movement. Signing Addison for what the models value him at – which could be what his camp is seeking – would certainly limit their in-season flexibility.