Jets acquire six-time 20-goal scorer from Predators
The Jets are set to add to their forward group. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that they are set to acquire winger Nino Niederreiter from the Predators. Friedman tweets that Winnipeg will send a 2024 second-round pick in return.
The 30-year-old has been a reliable secondary scorer for the majority of his career and continued that trend in his first season with Nashville. This season, Niederreiter has 18 goals and 10 assists in 56 games, good for second on the Preds in goals (just one behind Filip Forsberg). He has reached the 20-goal mark in six of the last eight seasons and should certainly bolster Winnipeg’s scoring depth, especially with Cole Perfetti likely out for the remainder of the regular season and potentially into the first round.
Notably, Niederreiter isn’t a rental acquisition for Winnipeg as he still has one year remaining on his deal after this season with a $4M cap hit. The Jets already had more than $66.5M in commitments for next season to just 13 players, per CapFriendly, a total that will jump to over $70.5M. Notably, that figure does not include an expected new deal for RFA center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is heading for a sizable raise on his current $6M salary. With that in mind, it’s quite possible that from here on out, the Jets will focus on rental players.
As for Nashville, this year hasn’t gone as planned for the Preds. After being 12th in goals scored in 2021-22, they’ve struggled offensively this season, sitting 26th in that department even with the addition of Niederreiter, who was supposed to help bolster their attack. The end result is that they find themselves fifth in the Central Division and seven points out of a wild-card spot heading into the weekend’s action. It appears that GM David Poile has settled on his course of action after previously suggesting he wasn’t entirely sure if he’d be a buyer or seller.
While the Preds don’t have a strong list of pending UFAs – it’s basically backup goaltender Kevin Lankinen and injured blue liner Mark Borowiecki – they do have some other players who are signed or under team control beyond this season that could be of interest. Pending RFA defenseman Dante Fabbro has been in recent speculation while veteran rearguard Mattias Ekholm has been suggested as someone who could move if they look to undergo a longer-term retooling process.