According to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, the Winnipeg Jets wanted a left-handed NHL depth defenceman. What they did was sign Brian Strait to a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000 AAV.
The Shawn Matthias signing came at a market appropriate price and should help improve the team's abysmal penalty kill. Quinton Howden is an intriguing flyer on a hometown kid with 1st round pedigree. Brian Strait is supremely disappointing. In short, the Jets signed a LHD worse than Mark Stuart:
Strait is not a genuine defensive defensemen such as Barret Jackman or even Adam Pardy. He is not an interesting veteran redemption project such as Matthew Carle, nor a young d-man with still-remaining potential à la Stuart Percy. The 28-year-old Brian Strait is a possession black hole who has six goals and 27 points in 182 NHL games, one whose departure New York Islanders fans likely aren't lamenting.
His scouting report, as per The Hockey News:
Assets: Keeps the game simple and limits his mistakes in the defensive zone. Is quite reliable. Can play a shutdown role, if need be. Is an asset on the penalty kill because he is a quality shot-blocker.
Flaws: His steady, defensive work lacks consistency, and there isn't anything in his game that stands out enough to make up for it. Lacks offensive flair and doesn't produce a lot of points in the NHL.
Career Potential: Depth defenseman.
Arctic Ice Hockey contributor @IanDmytriw expressed a relative lack of worry over this addition, given how it's a "Cheap, one year deal that can be buried in the minors". Here is a selection of LHD deals inked today:
- David Schlemko, age 29, four years, $2.1 mil AAV
- John-Michael Liles, age 35, one year, $2.0 mil AAV
- Kevin Connauton, age 26, two years, $1.0 mil AAV
- Patrick Wiercioch, age 25, one year, $800,000 AAV
- Klas Dahlbeck, age 24, one year, $750,000 AAV
- Brian Strait, age 28, one year, $600,000 AAV
- Matt Irwin, age 28, one year, $575,000 AAV
Brian Strait is cost-effective (i.e. cheap), of this there's no question. The problem (aside from being bad) is how he's also incredibly unnecessary. The Winnipeg Jets already have two LHD of a similar ilk in Mark Stuart and Ben Chiarot, arguably three if one counts RFA Julian Melchiori. Cheap or not, Brian Strait no more addresses the depth left-shot need than this trio of players already with the organization.
Help us Josh Morrissey, you're our only hope.
"It's Brian Strait" pic.twitter.com/1bCbhXHDk0— Brian the Real GM (@BrianFromAIH) July 1, 2016
What is your reaction to the Brian Strait signing? If he's destined for the AHL, why not ink a two-way contract similar to Justin Falk's 650k/300k split with the Buffalo Sabres? Is Strait redundant, unneeded, or both? What options might you have preferred in addressing the team's need at LHD? And is the path clear for Josh Morrissey to crack Winnipeg's roster out of training camp?
Share your thoughts, questions and concerns in the Comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!