The Winnipeg Jets still have some important business to take care of over the summer and it looks like they are running out of precious space to do so.
Just recently the Jets announced that they had signed Neal Pionk, acquired as part of the trade that sent veteran Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers, to a 2 year deal that carries an average annual value of $6 million per season. That deal has put the Jets and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff dangerously close to the salary cap when you consider that they still have yet to sign restricted free agents Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.
In a recent article for The Hockey News, Jared Clinton has suggested that even on favorable deals for the Jets the pair of young forwards could cost the organization a cool $15 million against the cap per season. That would leave the Jets with precious little cap space with which to fill out their roster, and practically no cap space with which to operate during the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season. It is for that reason that Clinton believes the Jets will have to shed a player in order to make the dollars work and he has put forward two names that he believes are the most likely candidates.
Although both of the players suggested by Clinton would have very limited trade protection, the kind that is unlikely to prohibit a determined team from making a trade, Clinton believes that Dmitry Kulikov and Mathieu Perreault are the two most likely Jets to end up on the trading block. Although the moves are certainly feasible they both come with their respective downsides. In the case of Dmitry Kulikov the Jets have a player earning $4.3 million per season who is unlikely to have a lot of teams clamoring for his services. That would likely mean that the organization would be forced to add a sweetener in order to get a rival team to take on his full cap hit, and dealing away future assets is always a bitter pill to swallow. \
The downside of trading Perreault however may be even worse for the Jets, especially in the short term. Perreault remains a valuable piece of the Jets line up and, although he would likely fetch the better return, his absence would be more readily noticed that that of Kulikov.