Jump to content

[Specualtion] Free Agent Focus: Winnipeg Jets

Recommended Posts

Free Agent Focus: Winnipeg Jets


May 22nd, 2024 at 9:00pm CST • By Brian La Rose


Free agency is now just a bit more than a month away and teams are looking ahead to when it opens.  There will be several impact players set to hit the open market in July while many teams have key restricted free agents to re-sign as well.  We begin our look around the NHL with an overview of the free agent situation for the Jets.



Key Restricted Free Agents


D Ville Heinola – This season didn’t quite go as planned for Heinola.  Hoping to earn a roster spot in training camp, he instead fractured his ankle late in camp, keeping him shelved until January.  Upon his return, he was assigned to AHL Manitoba and while he was quite productive with the Moose, he never got the call.  The best news for Heinola is that he’ll be waiver-eligible next season and it’s hard to see a scenario where he clears waivers.  Accordingly, instead of signing a two-way deal worth the minimum in the NHL with a higher AHL salary, he could simply elect to accept his $874K qualifying offer (even though it’d carry a $70K AHL salary) knowing that he’s highly unlikely to be in the minors next season.


F Cole Perfetti – Perfetti took a step forward offensively this season, notching 19 goals and 19 assists in 71 regular season games, not bad numbers for someone in his sophomore year.  However, he found himself in the press box most nights when it counted the most, ending his campaign on a bit of a low note.  At this point, it’s unlikely that either side would want to work out a long-term agreement; a bridge deal makes much more sense especially with him tailing off toward the end of the year.  That deal should check in somewhere around the $3MM range depending on how many years it goes for.

D Logan Stanley – In 2022-23, Stanley was a frequent healthy scratch and rarely played which led to some wondering if he’d be tendered a qualifying offer with arbitration rights.  Things really didn’t change this year.  The 25-year-old was limited to just 28 games (including playoffs) while averaging less than 14 minutes a night.  The qualifying offer is just $1MM and arbitration eligibility shouldn’t be too much of a concern here but if they see him squarely in seventh defenseman territory, how deep into seven figures do they want to go for that role?  Regardless of what happens, another one-year deal around this price point should be coming his way, either from Winnipeg or somewhere else.


Other RFAs: F David Gustafsson, D Artemi Kniazev, D Simon Lundmark, G Oskari Salminen



Key Unrestricted Free Agents


G Laurent Brossoit – The decision to return to Winnipeg certainly worked out well for Brossoit.  After spending most of 2022-23 in the minors, he was one of the top backups in the league this season, posting a 2.00 GAA along with a .927 SV% in 23 games.  He’s played well enough to earn a fair-sized raise on the $1.75MM he made this year which will price him out of what the Jets can afford.  That said, he has just 140 NHL appearances under his belt which might stop him from getting top-end backup money.  Still, he could push for closer to $3MM and potentially a multi-year deal, a solid outcome for someone who was in the minors not too long ago.



D Dylan DeMelo – The 31-year-old has shown slow but steady improvement throughout his career and is coming off his best performance so far, notching 31 points while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night during the season, both career-bests.  He also finished second in the league in plus/minus, checking in at +46.  Being a right-shot defender will certainly help bolster DeMelo’s market as well.  Four years ago, the four-year, $12MM deal looked a bit risky for someone who had exclusively been on the third pairing.  In the end, it was a bargain and DeMelo is now well-positioned to land another contract that long while adding at least a million per season more to that price tag.



D Brenden Dillon – Dillon isn’t going to hit the scoresheet very often but as far as dependable physical blueliners go, he’s a good one.  He has had that role for the past three years with the Jets, logging around 19 minutes a game while logging some big minutes shorthanded.  It appears that Winnipeg is leaning toward moving on (his leaving opens up a spot for Heinola) but Dillon should have a solid market this summer.  His set-to-expire contract carries a $3.9MM AAV and on a blueline market that isn’t the deepest in July, he should check in around that amount again on another multi-year agreement.



F Sean Monahan – The Jets parted with their first-round pick to bring in Monahan back in February and the fit was nearly seamless as he slotted in on their second line.  After several injury-riddled seasons, the 29-year-old actually led the NHL in games played with 83 which will certainly help his case, as will his 26-goal, 33-point showing.  His market will be an interesting one as there likely will be some teams still wary given Monahan’s injury history.  That likely takes a long-term agreement off the table.  However, he’s among the top few centers available and the market for those players can go up quickly.  A multi-year agreement past the $4MM mark should be achievable and if the demand is fairly high, $5MM or more shouldn’t be impossible to reach.


F Tyler Toffoli – After a breakout year with Calgary last season, it was fair to expect a drop-off in production.  Having said that, while his assists dropped by 17, he only went down by one goal, going from 34 to 33, putting him fourth among UFAs in that department.  His last trip through free agency didn’t go as well as he hoped, resulting in a four-year, $17MM contract that wound up being a team-friendly agreement rather quickly.  Now 32 and having shown he can produce with several teams, he should have a stronger market this time around.  That should give him a chance for another deal around the length of his last one with a price tag that pushes the $6MM mark.



Other UFAs: D Kyle Capobianco, G Collin Delia, F Jeff Malott, D Colin Miller, F Kristian Reichel, D Ashton Sautner, F Jeffrey Viel


Projected Cap Space


The Jets head into the offseason with a little over $13MM in cap space which clearly isn’t enough to bring back everyone.  They can likely afford to keep one of the two defensemen and it seems like DeMelo is their preferred option.  Up front, they might be able to keep one of Monahan or Toffoli but not both and that assumes that Perfetti winds up on a shorter-term contract.  They’ll also likely opt for a low-cost backup behind Connor Hellebuyck whose new seven-year, $59.5MM deal begins in July.  If they keep a forward and a defenseman, re-sign their RFAs, and add a cheaper backup, that might just about be it for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff this summer.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Brenden Dillon @ 4mill per.

I wonder if he’s even an option we might consider. Rugged and great defensively, but slow.  Hope we are aiming more towards younger Dmen who are on the verge of stepping up and could potentially be cost controlled. 


Edited by RWJC
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...