Salary Cap Deep Dive: Winnipeg Jets
Navigating the salary cap is one of the most important jobs for any CEO. Teams that can avoid utter cap chaos by walking a tightrope from inking players to deals that match their value (or offset future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those who don’t see front office struggles and changes.
PHR will take a look at each NHL team and provide an in-depth look at their cap situation heading into the 2021-22 season. This will focus more on players who are regulars in the roster rather than those who might find themselves shuttling between the AHL and the NHL. All figures in the ceiling are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current heading reached: $ 87,297,979 (more the upper limit of $ 81.5 billion)
F David Gustafsson (one year, $ 818,000)
D City Heinola (three years, $ 863,000)
F Kristian Vesalainen (one year, $ 894,000)
Gustafsson: $ 57.5K
Vesalaine: $ 850K
Total: $ 907.5K
Vesalainen is yet to live up to his first-round draft, but he spent most of last year with Winnipeg, either in the active roster or on the taxi team, while also participating to four eliminatory competitions. Unless they need to fill his place on the roster with a minimum wage player, he should have an opportunity for a full-time position, albeit on the fourth row, which won’t help his chances. achieve one of its incentives. Gustafsson barely played for Winnipeg last season, but with the departure of several of their depth players, they will need to fill some of these indoor positions, giving him the opportunity to hold a regular spot in the lineup. ‘alignment. Heinola is likely away to start the year, but he has impressed in the minors and could work his way to a regular role as the season progresses.
One year remaining, non-entry level
D Nathan Beaulieu ($ 1.25 billion, UFA)
g Eric Comrie ($ 750K, RFA)
F Andrew Copp ($ 3.64 billion, UFA)
F Pierre Luc Dubois ($ 5 M, RFA)
F Jansen Harkins ($ 725K, RFA)
F Riley nash ($ 750K, UFA)
D Sami niku ($ 725K, RFA)
F Paul stastny ($ 3.75 MM, UFA)
Last season was a season to forget for Dubois. After settling for a two-year bridge contract, he left Columbus very quickly with the Jets going their separate ways. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to bring it, by strengthening their central depth in the process. However, he struggled by expectations with Winnipeg, scoring just 20 points in 41 games and was silent in the playoffs with just three assists in seven games. A year ago, it looked like his 2022 contract was going to be the biggest one that comfortably pushed him past the $ 7 million AAV mark, especially with his qualifying bid of $ 6.65 million. But if he doesn’t have a much improved 2021-22 season, this qualifying offer may be his best case scenario.
Copp has just completed a year of career, but was forced to close the deal a year earlier this month to get Winnipeg as close to cap compliance as possible. Repeated performance should push its AAV above the $ 4 million mark. Stastny has remained in the top six for most of last season, with Dubois often lining up on the wing and his price is a bit below the market value of a top six center, especially compared to some of the other offers. He’ll be leaving year after year from now on and the Jets might need to use his money to re-sign Copp next summer. Nash and Harkins will be actors, and with their cap structure, the positions they hold will need to be filled with minimum wage players down the road, whether it’s those two options or others.
The two defenders in this category seem to be the possible victims of the cap to free up a little extra room to conform to the cap once the LTIR is factored in (more on that later). Beaulieu can hold out on the third pairing but his place could be taken by someone cheaper. Niku, meanwhile, has been in business speculation for a few years now. They don’t want to lose him on waivers, but with such limited recent action (he only played six games last season) they may have to settle for that if something doesn’t materialize in the two. next months.
Comrie has rebounded from waivers for the past two years, but has seen virtually no action in the NHL. That will change next season as their ceiling situation required a minimum wage reinforcement and he will have the first chance to be that player. A good performance would certainly strengthen his record heading into his final year of officiating eligibility, but at the same time, he could potentially get out of Winnipeg if he did well enough to earn a sizable jump.
Two years left
D Logan stanley ($ 900K, RFA)
F Dominique toninato ($ 750K, UFA)
You can basically put any minimum wage in the Toninato slot and maybe there will be a signing or waiver request coming up that will push him out. Meanwhile, the fact that he was given a two-year contract last month that includes a one-sided second year suggests that Winnipeg thinks he can secure a regular spot on the list.
Stanley really improved his stock last season, going from someone who looked like they were on the outside watching a berth in the roster to a player who was more often, albeit in a limited role. The small record allowed the Jets to secure him on a cheap bridge contract, a contract that won’t be very hard to beat.
Three years left
D Dylan DeMelo ($ 3M, UFA)
D Brenden Dillon ($ 3.9 MM, UFA)
g Connor Hellebuyck ($ 6.166 billion, UFA)
F Bryan Petit ($ 5.292 billion, UFA)
F Mark Scheifele ($ 6.125 billion, UFA)
F Blake wheeler ($ 8.25 billion, UFA)
Let’s eliminate Little first. He hasn’t played since early November 2019 and is still trying to recover from a perforated eardrum. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has suggested that Little is expected to be unable to return. It will head to the LTIR, allowing Winnipeg to exceed the cap to its maximum success (the cost of their active roster at the time of placement will determine exactly how much they can exceed).
Very quietly, Scheifele has averaged points per game or better for each of the past five seasons, becoming a legitimate star. Since centers with similar production have grown significantly, this is a contract well below market value. The same cannot be said of Wheeler. He’s always been productive, but his production per game has declined over the past two years and with he’s close to turning 35, there likely won’t be another 91-point season in his future.
Dillon was recruited just before free agency to consolidate a back-end that had yet to fully recover from the 2019 exodus. As long as he can record 20 minutes per game on the second pair and provide his physique habit and its strong defensive presence, it will offer good value for money. DeMelo is someone they were hoping they could play in the second pair last year when they signed him into that contract, but he’s better off on the third pair with more protected minutes. This makes the deal an overpayment, which is why it was made available to expanding Seattle.
Hellebuyck has been the NHL goalie for the past four years. He’s faced the most shots in each of the past three seasons and led the league in minutes played four years ago. He does a bit more than most starters, but the small bonus is certainly justified and that has allowed the Jets to go with a low cost save in Comrie, knowing he will once again handle a significantly higher workload. than most starters.
Four or more years left
F Kyle connor ($ 7.142 billion until 2025-2026)
F Adam lowry ($ 3.25 billion until 2025-2026)
F Nikolaj Ehlers ($ 6 billion until 2024-25)
D Josh Morrissey ($ 6.25 billion until 2027-2028)
D Neal pionk ($ 5.85 billion until 2024-25)
D Nate schmidt ($ 5.95 billion until 2024-25)
Connor just finished his fourth straight season of 50 or more points, an impressive feat considering there have only been 56 games in 2020-21. He has become a legitimate leading winger and is paid a little less than a leading winger would typically be paid in the open market. Ehlers hasn’t been able to produce as consistently as Connor, but has shown flashes of first-line ability and fits well in second-line otherwise. They get good value with it. Lowry opted for stability over what almost assuredly would have been a larger unrestricted free agency deal, giving Winnipeg a quality third center at a below-market cost. There is no problem with the long term contracts they have up front.
The same may be said on the back. Morrissey is not a true number one defender, but neither is he paid as one. He’s better suited as a number two defender and that’s what he’s paid for. Pionk has impressed since joining Rangers, taking his attacking game to another level and establishing himself as a solid top-four option as well. As for Schmidt, he was Vegas but struggled in Vancouver last season, allowing Winnipeg to take him back for a third-round pick only. If he returns to his previous form, he’ll be a big pickup for the Jets and bring some value to his deal. If he doesn’t, it’s a contract that could be problematic in the years to come.
Salary transactions retained
Still to sign
Best value: Scheifele
Worst value: Roller
For next season, the roster is basically what it is at this point, aside from needing to move a defender and maybe try to upgrade minimum wage players. Winnipeg is capped and since they’ll be using LTIR all season, they won’t be able to set aside space to try to add someone closer to the trade deadline. Most of Cheveldayoff’s work is done.
The 2022 offseason will be interesting as they will have around $ 20 million in the bedroom (after supporting Little’s contract), but will essentially try to sign almost half of a roster as they will only have a dozen or so. contract players. Dubois and Copp (if re-signed) will occupy almost half of this space. As a result, expect Winnipeg to have a similar roster at the back of the roster for a while, where the bottom spots are essentially interchangeable with minimum wage players.
They have committed to this core roster for the foreseeable future and there will be no wiggle room to supplement it with other proven parts. Only time will tell if this base group that has been strengthened by the defensive upgrades is good enough to run in the West.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.