How Did The Winnipeg Jets Do On July 1?

The Winnipeg Jets sign three UFAs on day one of the free agent frenzy – 

The Winnipeg Jets first UFA signing of the day was Shawn Matthias.  He signed a two-year contract worth an AAV of $2,125,000 per season.

Shawn Matthias:
Pos: C/LW    Shoots: Left
DOB: Feb. 19, 1988   Birthplace: Mississauga, Ont.
Height: 6’4   Weight: 223
Drafted by: Detroit   Round: 2nd   Overall: 47th   Year: 2006

The 28-year-old Matthias played last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs (51 games) and Colorado Avalanche (20 games) where he notched 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points along with 20 pims.  The Mississauga, Ontario native has amassed 81 goals and 78 assists for 159 points in 479 games during his nine NHL seasons.  Matthias has also had previous stints with the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers.

Matthias was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round, 47th overall in 2006 but was traded to the Florida Panthers in February of 2007. He was sent to Florida as part of the trade that brought Todd Bertuzzi to Detroit.

Won a gold medal with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.

Analysis: ?

I would call this a solid but unspectacular addition by the Winnipeg Jets.  Shawn Matthias can add a modest amount of scoring to the Jets bottom six forwards and should be a solid contributor to the penalty killing unit.  He is a big body that can skate and can play either center or wing.   This signing will definitely amp up the competition for 3rd and 4th line minutes.

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The Winnipeg Jets signed UFA forward Quinton Howden to a one-year, two-way contract worth an AAV of $650,000 in the NHL.

Quinton Howden:
Pos: C    Shoots: Left
DOB: Jan. 21, 1988    Birthplace: Winnipeg, Man.
Height: 6’2   Weight: 190
Drafted by: Florida   Round: 1st   Overall: 25th   Year: 2010

Quinton Howden is a 24-year-old that calls Oakbank home.  He was drafted by the Florida Panthers in 2010 and has spent parts of three seasons with the big club.  Last season Howden had tallied 6 goals and 5 assists in 58 games with the Panthers.  Over his NHL career, he has 10 goals and 7 assists in 92 games.

Analysis: ?

The Florida Panthers have a wealth of young prospects and decided not to tender Howden (RFA) a qualifying offer essential saying goodbye and thanks for coming out.

I must admit I am a little biased with this Jets signing because Quinton Howden was one of my favorite players in his WHL Bantam Draft year.  I spent many nights driving out to Hazelridge to watch him play.  All that being said, this is a very low-risk signing and I believe he still has a lot of upside.  He has good size and is a better than average skater with good speed.  Quinton Howden will play with the Manitoba Moose this season and has an excellent opportunity to earn a long-term contract with the Jets organisation.  The ball is in his court.

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The Winnipeg Jets signed UFA defenceman Brian Strait on a one-year, one-way contract worth an AAV of $600,000.

Brian Strait:
Pos: D    Shoots: Left
DOB: Jan. 4, 1988    Birthplace: Waltham, Mass.
Height: 6’1   Weight: 205
Drafted by: Pittsburgh   Round: 3rd   Overall: 65th   Year: 2006

Brian Strait, 28, has played the last four seasons with the New York Islanders and had previously spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Last season he scored 1 goal and added 5 assists in 51 games for Islanders.  In 182 career NHL games, he has posted 6 goals and 21 assists.

Analysis:  ?

This is an extremely low-level free agent signing that doesn’t make any sense to me.  This is like signing Mark Stuart to replace Mark Stuart.  The contract is cheap at $600,000 for a depth defenceman but this player can’t possibly take up one of the coveted 23-man roster spots on the Winnipeg Jets.  He may be a left-handed shot but he is 8th at best on the blueline depth chart.

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  1. Scott Swail says

    Pretty uneventful. Status quo for the Jets, but doesn’t give much to hope for this fall. They needed much more than Laine to move forward. Young guys coming up, but not sure how many will stick with the organization (e.g., Petan, Morrissey).

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Laine will improve the “top 6” and Matthias will add some competition to the “bottom 6” …. the problem is is still at LD … so far, no improvement.

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