In any conversation regarding Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's "best" moves, Mathieu Perreault is a mainstay. It's a reputation earned by virtue of his impressive 2014-15 performance, and one which remains in spite of the team's miserable 2015-16 campaign.
While it didn't always result in point production, Perreault once again provided that same never quit, constant motor playing style which makes him a joy to watch. Of course, his fearless attitude when combined with a lack of size inevitably leads to one constant knock against the Drummondville native: injuries.
Perreault's reputation is of a player good for 60-something games, but 2015-16 saw him set a new career-high with 71 GP. He had encouragingly missed just one tilt prior to being felled by a concussion on March 20th against Anaheim, resulting in a ten game absence to close out the season. One wonders if Perreault would have been shut down had Winnipeg been gearing up for the playoffs.
In those 71 games, Perreault posted nine goals and 41 points. His 32 assists represented a significant uptick from previous seasons, while nine goals was half of what he'd scored in both of the two previous years. On that note, after shooting percentages of 12.8%, 15.0% and 14.0% from 2012-13 to 2014-15, last season's 6.8% looks rather anomalous. If believed to be indicative of poor puck luck rather than genuine decline, expecting a bounceback in the goals category next season is hardly unreasonable. It should also be noted that Perreault was the team's second most productive forward on the power play, with 15 points.
To the surprise of no one, the analytics community darling was once again a fancy stat giant. As per Corsica Hockey:
On a Jets squad which managed a team-wide 5v5 Corsi For% of 51.4 , Perreault came in at 57.1, leading all Winnipeg skaters. In fact, Perreault's 5v5 CF% RelTM was fifth among all NHL forwards who played at least 300 minutes. When it comes to tilting the ice in the right direction, here is a player among the league's best.
Perreault's most common 5v5 linemates of Mark Scheifele, Drew Stafford and Nikolaj Ehlers were all better alongside him, dramatically so in the cases of Scheifele and Stafford. One could dwell upon his fancy stats for quite a while, but doing them justice would require a much longer piece and in short, they read like a dream.
It was all the way back on July 1st, 2014 that the Jets signed Perreault to a three-year contract worth $9 million total. Since then, he has been a tremendously positive contributor in terms of versatility, points and fancy stats. Perreault has almost certainly outperformed his $3 million AAV price tag. Unfortunately, it's a price tag set to expire come July 2017.
With that said, this is still a player who has yet to break the 45 point barrier, one whose fearless style of game makes injury a constant worry. The negatives of Perreault's going full bore are ultimately (and heavily) outweighed by its positives, but they still provide cause for concern, especially if considering a significant dedication of dollars and term.
Less important is asking how much his 133 games and 82 points with Winnipeg are worth. Of greater significance is the question of reasonable expectations for Perreault moving forward, especially given the ever-growing internal competition upfront.
"Some of our young guys have taken a big step this year." -Perreaulthttps://t.co/nzLzGAnaMK— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 11, 2016
What do you think? If the Winnipeg Jets were to re-sign Mathieu Perreault, what could the skilled forward reasonably expect? As an expiring asset, should Winnipeg look to trade him? Does a contract extension make sense with the wealth of forward prospects in the system?
Share your thoughts, feelings and concerns in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!