On Tuesday, the Winnipeg Jets made a great move by re-signing their captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension. However, while the news made loads of happy fans in Winnipeg, there is now an obvious problem in the Jets' dressing room. The team will face a salary-cap crunch next summer and tough decisions will have to be made.
Rory Boylen of Sportsnet examined their situation and did the math for you. Defensemen Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers and forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor will be in line for new contracts next summer. Assuming Trouba gets $6.5-million per season, current restricted free agent Josh Morrissey gets $5.5 million, Myers between $5.5-$6 million, Connor between $6-$7 million and Laine between $9-$10 million, the Jets would be over $6 million above the salary cap, presuming the cap remains at $79.5 million.
Even if the Jets can somehow get some of those players under more cap-friendly annual average values, a trade might be the only solution... Here is what Boylen thinks might happen in Winnipeg:
“The easiest way to get there would be to let Myers become a UFA, or to trade Trouba.”
Boylen also suggests 30-year-forward Mathieu Perreault’s $4.125-million cap hit could be too expensive for a third line. However, it seems hard to sell Pearreault on the trade market, he remains an oft-injured veteran forward... He is under contract through 2020-21 and Cap Friendly indicates that he has a five-team no-trade clause.
"Cheveldayoff has never been a big trader as GM of the Jets, but that option has to be on the table in the next 12 months. Trouba will be in the rumour mill until he signs a long-term extension and although 30-year-old Mathieu Perreault’s versatility makes him a valued asset, $4.125 million for essentially a third-liner could prove too rich."
Trouba seems the most likely trade candidate, especially if Myers is willing to accept a reasonable deal to stay in Winnipeg.
The Jets can always count on an increase in the cap ceiling for 2019-20, which could climb to $82 million. It would provide some relief to the Jets and it would but Boylen's projected $6-million overage in half.
It would remain an issue and a star player could have to be on the move, however, it would be more manageable for the Canadian team...