First they addressed the blue line. Now the Winnipeg Jets have added a free-agent boost to the bottom six of their forward group,
Veteran Riley Nash signed a one-year deal Saturday that will pay him US$750,000 for the 2021-22 season.
Nash, 32, has played 10 years in the NHL, starting with Carolina followed by Boston, Columbus and Toronto. The 6-2, 188 pound native of Consort, Alta., has 63 goals and 109 assists in 578 career regular-season games.
He is a checking centre and solid penalty killer who can also play right wing. Expect Nash to be in the mix with the likes of Dominic Toninato and young skaters Kristian Vesalainen, Jansen Harkins, David Gustafsson and Cole Perfetti for playing time on the fourth line this coming season.
One of those players could also see time on Winnipeg’s third line along with Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry, after winger Mason Appleton was selected in expansion draft.
The Jets’ top six is set in some fashion with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Winnipeg made two big moves earlier this week, adding defencemen Brenden Dillon and Nate Schmidt in separate trades with Washington and Vancouver. Two second-round draft picks and a third-round selection went the other way.
The Jets have very little salary cap space to work with, especially with Copp and defencemen Neal Pionk and Logan Stanley all restricted free agents, who need new contracts this summer.
Getting someone with Nash’s experience near the league minimum is good value as the Jets try to replace forwards Mathieu Perreault, Trevor Lewis and Nate Thompson, who formed the fourth line last year and all signed with new teams in free agency this week.
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