The Winnipeg Jets have signed veteran skater Riley Nash as additional forward depth for the 2021-22 season. The deal is for one year and will carry the league’s minimum cap hit of $750,000. Sportsnet contributor Ken Wiebe announced the deal Saturday afternoon.
#NHLJets are adding veteran C/RW Riley Nash on a one year, one-way deal with an AAV of $750,000. Nash, 32, was most recently with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebesWorld) July 31, 2021
Jets Sign Riley Nash
2020-21 saw Nash play with the Columbus Blue Jackets for most of the regular season. He contributed two goals and seven points in 37 games with a 44.3 percent Corsi=For and -2.9 relative Corsi. Columbus then decided to trade him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who promptly placed Nash on long-term injured reserve for the remainder of the campaign. Injuries can often make seasons seem worse than they are, but there really was very little redeeming about the year for the skater from Consort, Alberta.
The Edmonton Oilers originally drafted Nash 21st overall in the 2007 Draft. They would trade him to the Carolina Hurricanes for a second-round pick in 2010 before he could debut. Nash appeared in over 240 games for the ‘Canes before signing as a free agent with the Boston Bruins in 2016 and then Columbus in 2018. Overall, the veteran has collected just 63 goals and 109 points in 578 games. It has been a fine career, but it is only good enough to make Nash 26th in total scoring from his draft class.
What This Means
Nash has a very real chance to seize a spot on Winnipeg’s bottom-six if his health returns intact. Fans shouldn’t expect much from the 32-year-old, but he can do a little bit of everything and did score 41 points as recently as 2017-18. The Jets should be able to give him slightly better linemates than Columbus, so a bounce-back is certainly possible over an 82-game season.
Winnipeg still has a trio of restricted free agents to manage. Andrew Copp, Logan Stanley, and Neal Pionk all need new contracts this summer. However, the Jets have only $6.9 million in space. It will be interesting to see how they squeeze all three onto the 2021-22 roster.
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – MARCH 28: Riley Nash #20 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on March 28, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)