Jets trade for Schmidt, Dillion to add depth at defensemen


After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Winnipeg Jets:

2020-21 season: 30-23-3, third in Scotia North Division; lost in second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Key arrivals

Nate Schmidt, D: The 30-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on July 27 for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Schmidt scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 54 games last season. … Brenden Dillon, D: The 30-year-old was acquired from the Washington Capitals on July 26 for a second-round pick in the 2022 draft and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Dillon scored 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 56 games last season and one goal in five playoff games. … Riley Nash, F: The 32-year-old signed a one-year contract July 31 after scoring seven points (two goals, five assists) in 37 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets during the regular season and no points in two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs last season. 

Key departures

Mason Appleton, F: He was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft after scoring an NHL career-high 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 56 games last season. … Derek Forbort, D: He signed a three-year contract with the Boston Bruins on July 28 after scoring 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 56 games and averaging 20:45 of ice time per game. … Tucker Poolman, D: He signed a four-year contract with the Canucks on July 28. He had one assist in 39 games and averaged an NHL career-high 18:18 of ice time per game. … Jordie Benn, D: He signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Wild on Aug. 27 after scoring 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 39 games for the Canucks and Jets last season.


[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]


On the cusp

Ville Heinola, D: The 20-year-old was the No. 20 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. He didn’t score a point in five games for the Jets last season, but scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 19 games for Manitoba of the American Hockey League and 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 19 games for Lukko in Liiga, the top professional hockey league in Finland. … Dylan Samberg, D: The 22-year-old was selected in the second round (No. 43) of the 2017 NHL Draft and scored seven points (one goal, six assists) in 32 games for Manitoba in his rookie pro season. … David Gustafsson, F: The 21-year-old was selected in the second round (No. 60) of the 2018 NHL Draft. Gustafsson had no points in four games for the Jets and 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 22 games for Manitoba.

What they still need

A veteran backup goalie. The Jets appear set to begin the season with Eric Comrie playing behind Connor Hellebuyck. Selected in the second round (No. 59) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Comrie is 3-5-0 with a 4.08 goals-against average and .873 save percentage in nine games (eight starts) for the Jets, Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. He was claimed off waivers from the Devils on Feb. 18 and will get a chance to establish himself during a second tenure in Winnipeg. But if it doesn’t work out, the Jets may look elsewhere. 

They said it

“I just really liked how this is shaping up, how this Jets team is being put together. We have a great team, we have a great group of forwards, a fantastic goaltender, and now our defense is looking like a defense that could, in my opinion, help you win and go help you win the whole thing, and that’s what we want.” — defenseman Nate Schmidt

Fantasy focus

Forward Pierre-Luc Dubois struggled to maintain fantasy relevance with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 41 games for Winnipeg last season and three assists in seven postseason games. That said, Dubois should be a fixture in the top six this season, has fantasy bounce-back appeal and should score closer to his point total from 2018-19 (61 in 82 games) with likely exposure to at least one valuable forward in Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor or Blake Wheeler. — Rob Reese

Projected lineup

Kyle Connor — Mark Scheifele — Blake Wheeler

Paul Stastny — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Nikolaj Ehlers

Andrew CoppAdam LowryKristian Vesalainen

Jansen Harkins — David Gustafsson — Riley Nash

Josh Morrissey — Nate Schmidt

Brenden Dillon — Neal Pionk

Logan StanleyDylan DeMelo

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

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