Winnipeg Jets sign Paul Stastny, trade for defenceman

It was an extremely busy Monday night for the Winnipeg Jets after being awfully quiet during draft weekend.

The Jets got an early jump on free agency and made a trade just hours apart.

The Jets announced the signing of veteran forward Paul Stastny and acquired defenceman Brenden Dillon in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

Stastny agreed to a one-year contract with a very reasonable price tag. He’ll earn $3.75 million next season, which is a sharp drop from the $5.5 million he earned last season in the final year of a three-year contract.

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Stastny was due to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. The 35-year-old is staying put this time after leaving the Jets as a free agent in his first stint with the club three years ago.

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Stastny had 29 points, including 13 goals in 56 regular season games last season.

The Jets surrendered a pair of second round draft picks to acquire Dillon which is the first step to rebuilding their blueline. The Jets sent their second round pick in 2022 and 2023 to the Caps in exchange for Dillon.

The 30-year-old B.C. product will add some toughness to the Jets’ lineup. Dillon has three years left on a contract at an average of $3.9 million per season.

Dillon played the last two seasons with the Capitals after making previous stops with the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks. With San Jose, Dillon was a teammate of current Jet Dylan DeMelo for three seasons, and it would seem like a perfect match for their second pairing on the blueline.

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Dillon has over 600 NHL games under his belt and recorded two goals and 17 assists in 56 games last season.

Factoring in the long-term injury to Bryan Little, the Jets should have around $19 million in space under the salary cap with four restricted free agents that still need new deals.

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