The Winnipeg Jets announced yesterday that they’ve signed winger Nino Niederreiter to a 3 year, $12 million contract extension.
The deal carries a $4 million AAV.
Living in Canada, there’s always ton of buzz right from day one of the season on who the next crop of unrestricted free agents will be.
Possible fits and suitors for these players are considered only continues to grow as the season goes on.
It gets even noisier if one of those UFAs is a center or especially a right handed defenseman.
Then there’s Kevin Chevyldayoff, who found Niederreiter (who is neither a center or defenseman) at a reasonable price but not as a rental, given the remaining year on his contract at the time.
The Jets are still reaping the benefits of an outstanding 2023 trade deadline and this extension only makes it better.
2023 trade deadline is the gift that keeps giving
Chevyldayoff made two moves near the 2023 trade deadline that have had a big impact on today’s Jets.
If you can identify one strength of the Jets other than goaltending, it has been immense forward depth. Right from day one, it’s appeared that the Jets fourth line would have third line caliber talent and that their third line would be comprised of high quality middle six talent.
And while the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade has significantly impacted that reality, that trade deadline has also played its part.
On February 25th, Chevy found a surprising target, acquiring Nino Niederreiter from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2024 2nd round pick. The price was somewhat high for a middle six winger, but also fair given the fact he had another year on his contract.
A week later the Jets acquired Vladislav Namestnikov for a 2025 4th round draft pick. He agreed to a two year contract extension on July 1st this past summer.
Both of those players have been valuable players for the team, with Niederreiter playing a net front role on the second power play and serving as a superb complement to Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton. Namestnikov, meanwhile, has decent chemistry with the unpredictable Nikolaj Ehlers, can play all three forward positions, and has the skill to play on the second line but the tenacity to play effectively in the bottom six too.
Looking back, it’s fantastic asset management.
A 2024 2nd and a 2025 4th round pick for Namestnikov and Niederreiter is looking excellent today, especially given their extensions.
Assuming they play out the existence of their contracts as Winnipeg Jets, that’ll end up being roughly 500 NHL games of quality middle six minutes.
Which is a great return on investment.
Winnipeg Jets deserve their flowers for last 6 months of transactions
If you take a look at the last nine months of Chevyldayoff’s major transactions, you can refine it down to this.
Jets trade: Pierre-Luc Dubois, 2024 2nd round pick, 2025 4th round pick
Jets acquire: Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, Nino Niederreiter, Vladislav Namestnikov, 2024 2nd round pick (MTL)
You even distill it down even further if you cancel the 2024 2nd round picks, while giving the Jets an advantage in that exchange due to the fact that Montreal should trail Winnipeg in the standings at season’s end. There’s a chance the Montreal second round is a top 40 pick.
If so, it then becomes:
Jets trade: Pierre-Luc Dubois, 2025 4th round pick
Jets acquire: Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, Nino Niederreiter, Vladislav Namestnikov
That looks great even if Niederreiter and Namestnikov don’t extend their contracts.
But they did, and that leaves us with the deepest forward group the Jets have iced in years. And it should stay that way.