The Winnipeg Jets are bringing back a pair of familiar faces. The Jets have extended forward Vlad Namestnikov who was acquired from San Jose at the trade deadline last spring.
And another reunion has goalie Laurent Brossoit returning to Winnipeg after spending the past two seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Namestnikov’s deal is for two years with an average annual value of $US 2M while Brossoit has agreed to a one year contract for $US 1.75M.
Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff felt it was a good organizational follow up to Tuesday’s trade with Los Angeles that brought in Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafollo, and Rasmus Kupari.
“We’ve been in constant contact with Vladdy’s camp over the course of the summer and wanted to make sure that was something we stayed close on and hopefully we could do. Obviously we made the trade that acquired some additional forwards within the line-up so we had to kind of take a step back and adjust as to how things would fit. But ultimately we took a good hard look at it today and said ‘let’s get at this.’ ”
Namestnikov scored two goals and added eight assists for 10 points in 20 games with Winnipeg, but proved his worth as a versatile forward who can play all three positions, and a variety of roles.
The former Tampa Bay first round pick in 2011 has career stats of 115-146-261 in 630 NHL games with the Lightning, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Colorado, Detroit, and Dallas.
Brossoit spent three seasons in Winnipeg as a backup to Connor Hellebuyck before signing as a free agent with Vegas in 2021.
“LB is someone that when we signed him several years ago, I think a lot of people didn’t know much about him. I thought Wade Flaherty did a great job in helping him grow. He went off to another situation for a period of time. But the opportunity to come back and work with Hellebuyck was something that appealed to LB as well,” said Cheveldayoff. “I think they’ll be a good tandem. LB has grown in the goaltending department as well. He’s a different goaltender than he was when he was here the first time, which is going to benefit the organization.”
After returning from injury last season, the 30 year old British Columbia native went 7-0-3 with a 2.17 goals against average and .927 saves percentage in 11 appearances for the Golden Knights.
Brossoit started the first eight games of the playoffs for the eventual Stanley Cup champs before getting injured in the Edmonton series.
During his time with Winnipeg, Brossoit went 25-19-3 with two shutouts, a 2.75 GAA and a .913 SV%.in 54 appearances for the Jets.
Still to be determined is where things will land with Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck. The star center and goalie are both entering the 2023-24 season on expiring contracts and there has been much speculation about their desire to continue on with the organization on a long term basis.
Cheveldayoff told reporters on Saturday he’s comfortable going into the season without either player signed to an extension, but feels the Jets are in very good shape with how they have evolved following the changes of the past week.
“We have lots of good pieces here. The keeping of Vladdy, the addition of the three forwards, I think it really gives us a group of forwards that we really haven’t had at any point in time in this organization from top to bottom. That group of 12, 13, or 14 forwards there, there are lots of options, there are lots of ways to put them together. There are lots of different things the coaching staff, when we’ve had our meetings, that excite them,” explained Cheveldayoff. “It’s a line-up of guys that there are a few guys on the younger side that have something to prove. Over the period of time we’ve always seen, the teams that start at a certain point in September and October, it’s how you grow throughout that period of time with young players and how they become more entrenched, and grow and blossom in the evolution of their games. That’s how you become a better team. We’re excited about that. Obviously we have some depth on the back end right now, that will have to sort itself out as we go here. In net, we have a strong tandem there. I’m excited about this group.”
Winnipeg have also added some veteran depth between the pipes in ex- Vancouver Canuck Collin Delia and a gritty winger in former San Jose Shark Jeffrey Viel. Both Delia and Viel inking one year, one way contracts for $US 775K.
Viel is a 6-2 and 205 pound left winger and has spent his first five professional seasons with the Sharks. The 26 year old from Rimouski, Quebec has scored three goals and added two assists for five points and recorded 139 PIM’s in 49 career NHL games.
Delia played in 20 games for Vancouver, registering a 3.28 GAA and .882 svs pct to go along with a record of 10-6-2.
Delia made his NHL debut against Winnipeg late in the 2017-18 season when he was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. He was pressed into duty the evening of March 29/18 when Anton Forsberg was injured during the warmup. Delia stopped 25 of 27 shots but had to leave the game with just over 14 minutes to play when he also suffered an injury and was replaced by emergency backup Scott Foster.
The Jets did not tender a qualifying offer to Arvid Holm by Friday’s deadline – so Delia joins Hellebuyck, Brossoit and Oskari Salminen as goalies currently under contract to the Winnipeg organization.
It’s expected 2023 fifth round draft pick Thomas Milic will be signed before the start of the season.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.