The Winnipeg Jets have made some great deals in the past with players such as Mark Scheifele and Neal Pionk, but some of the organization’s other contracts are not as good as those two’s.
Making a deal could be tough for a general manager because you never know if a player is going to be an elite level talent or drop off once they have signed their new deal.
This article dives into the three worst contracts for the Jets going into the 2020-21 season and compares them to other players around the league and what their salary is.
Mathieu Perreault – $4.125 Million
Perreault has one year left on his massive contract, and Jets fans are going to be ecstatic when it is over. He has been a mediocre player for the past three seasons and does not deserve to make that kind of money.
He signed with the Jets in free agency on a three-year deal back in 2014, and it looked like it was going to be a steal. He put up north of 40 points in those three years with the club, even after missing 46 games total.
The Jets decided that Perreault was an important piece to the team and extended his contract to four more years at $4.125 million per. This contract has not looked good for the team whatsoever. In the past three years, his point per game total has gone down, and he has played in the bottom six most nights — not something you want from a $4 million player.
Perreault is a bottom-six forward who has some offensive upside and plays with a tenacity that one cannot teach. Since he is a veteran now in the league, he provides the Jets with some leadership. Although the signing was a bad one, he should be making close to around $2 million per year, similar to Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry.
Bryan Little – $5.291 Million
Little has been a great player for the Jets since the move from Atlanta. He has been one of the team’s centrepieces and held down the second-line spot quite nicely after Scheifele filled the first line.
In 2017, the Jets awarded Little with a six-year contract worth $5.291 million a season, something that many fans loved and hated. He worked hard and stayed with the Thrashers/Jets organization for the duration of his career.
Unfortunately, Little has battled some injuries as of late, as he only played nine games last season after getting hit with a Nikolaj Ehlers shot in the ear and has already decided that he will not be playing this coming season.
A healthy Little is a good player who can be impactful in the offensive and defensive zones. Does he deserve $5.291 million? No, probably not, but he was given it for his loyalty to the organization.
A couple of players to compare Little to are Adam Henrique of the Anaheim Ducks and Nick Bonino of the Minnesota Wild. All three of them are veteran players who are great to have in a locker room. Given their contracts are around $4 million, Little should be making somewhere between $4-5 million per year.
Paul Stastny – $6.5 Million
The Jets acquired Stastny in the offseason and will look to hold down the second-line centre spot this year in between Ehlers and Patrik Laine. He has seen a decline in his game over the past four years, as his point totals have not been the same.
The Vegas Golden Knights gave Stastny this deal in free agency, where he played a few seasons before they traded him. This looks like a rental player for the Jets this season, unless he signs for cheap, as he only has one more year left on his contract.
Don’t get me wrong, Stastny is a great player and will fill that second-line centre spot perfectly, but he is not worth the $6.5 million the Jets are paying him. He is a second-line centre on the team, but with his declining point production, he could see a third-line role somewhere for the 2020-21 season.
A guy to compare Stastny to is Vincent Trocheck of the Carolina Hurricanes, as they have both put up similar numbers the past few years. Trocheck makes just under $5 million per season, which is why Stastny should be making somewhere between $4-5 million.
Although the Jets may be in some cap trouble when it is time to sign Laine, they will have some relief when the bad contracts of Perreault and Stastny expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Blake Wheeler has been a driver in the Jets’ lineup and wears the captaincy proudly for the squad. He makes just north of $8 million and has proved that he can sometimes be that guy. Although a good player, that is a lot of money for him when other Jets’ players are making less and producing more, like Scheifele.
Jack Roslovic, when he signs his new deal, will be overpaid by $1-2 million dollars. As of right now, the former first-round draft pick has not produced to his capability, and fans are never sure if he is going to be able to. He is a restricted free agent right now and will be looking for $2.5-4 million from the Jets. This will be an overpay for a player who has yet to crack 30 points in the league.
Every team makes some bad decisions when it comes to signing players, but the Jets have actually done better than a lot of other clubs in that regard. They will look to use the last years of some of the bad contracts to help the make a playoff push and extend deep in to the playoffs.