The Winnipeg Jets have made a trade. After months of outlining the need for a middle-six winger, they have traded a 2024 second-round pick to the Nashville Predators for Nino Niederreiter. This comes just days after the news of Cole Perfetti being out for a minimum of eight weeks with an upper-body injury.
Nino Niederreiter Brings Combination of Skill & Size to Middle-Six
So, what are the Jets acquiring in this deal? Niederreiter is a middle-six winger that has a solid combination of skill and size, which he leverages in high-danger areas of the ice. The 30-year-old winger is a former fifth overall pick of the 2010 NHL Draft and has scored over 20 goals in five different seasons, including 2021-22 when he scored 24 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Swiss-born winger is on pace for 26 goals this season, and he joins a Jets forward group that desperately needed help. Acquiring a player with term on his contract was a big asset that Kevin Cheveldayoff was looking for, and Niederreiter has it. His $4 million cap hit extends for this season and next before he hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Players like Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck and Blake Wheeler’s contracts are expiring after 2023-24, so the timing of this deal seems very intentional. The Jets are bolstering their chances at a Stanley Cup with the current core.
Niederreiter’s Underlying Numbers are Tremendous
Niederreiter has outstanding underlying numbers across all statistical models, and his positive shot share will provide a boost to the Jets’ middle six. Whether it was with the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, or the Predators, he posted extremely solid numbers in a big role. He is a defensively responsible play-driving winger that can play with extremely skilled players, such as Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers.
For just a second-round pick, this trade should bring tremendous value for the Jets in the near future. This will alleviate pressure from someone like Mason Appleton, who had been promoted to the top line as of late. The forward depth has been a question mark since the beginning of the season, and Cheveldayoff decided to address it just under a week away from the trade deadline.
Niederreiter Will Help Spiralling Jets Re-Discover Winning Ways
The Jets have spiralled out of control over the past two weeks. They are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and just got steamrolled by a score of 5-1 against the Colorado Avalanche. They have lost four of their last five games, and their one win came against the New York Rangers, in a game where Hellebuyck had to make 50 stops to will them to victory. Rick Bowness has raised questions about puck management and effort over this losing stretch, and the loss to Colorado did them no favours in that regard.
Related: Jets Acquire Nino Niederreiter From Predators
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The Tuesday, Feb. 28 game against the Los Angeles Kings is projected to be Niederreiter’s first with the team. It will be interesting to see how Bowness decides to roll his lines, given that Niederreiter can play up and down the lineup in almost any role.
With under a week until the trade deadline, the Jets still have their major assets in place to make yet another big move. Prospects like Chaz Lucius, Brad Lambert, and Ville Heinola remain in the organization along with first-round picks for the next three seasons. If the Jets still want to make a splash for Jakob Chychrun or Timo Meier, they have the assets to do so and may use it as an opportunity to go all in. Regardless, trading for Niederreiter is a solid step in the right direction for fixing this team’s current issues, and at a low cost, the Jets got great value from this trade.