Next year is the final year of the contract that Bryan Little signed back on July 22nd, 2013 which was a five year, 23.5 million dollar contract for the Jets centre.
He played in all 82 games in the first season of that contract but has been hampered by various injuries in each of the subsequent three seasons. These injuries however haven’t been able to diminish the important role he plays for the Jets in all aspects of the game. He is seen by folks around these parts as an underrated centre who doesn’t really get the recognition he deserves around the NHL.
The 29 year old Little was drafted by the Thrashers back in 2006 in the 1st round (12th overall). He had been asked late in the season about signing a new contract with Winnipeg and was asked about this again during the player exit meetings. He indicated “I’ve told Chevy (Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) and them that I want to be here and I want to be part of the future and that hasn’t changed for me.”
When asked during his end of season presser about trying to get something done this Summer, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff added “Bryan has fit in very well here. He’s one of those players around the league that has a quiet type of appreciation.” He went on further to say “When you finish a game the coaches always comment on how effective he is. He can play a really solid 200 foot game, a smart player, conscientious player and he’s someone that we chose to extend once when that opportunity came and again it goes back to the salary cap management question. You have to be judicious in how it works, but when both sides are desirous of getting something done, generally something happens that works out for both sides.”
Of course with a number of players to sign plus some major money expected to be spent on a veteran goalie how much money does GM Kevin Cheveldayoff have to spend on a player like Little? According to CapFriendly the team as of right now has almost 30 million tied up in 2018-19 but the Jets will likely have a veteran goalie on the payroll as well as RFA signings in Adam Lowry, Joel Armia, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey.
However given that his last contract was signed with the Jets in July of 2013 and the previous one with Atlanta in August of 2010 it may be awhile before we hear about a new contract for the Jets centre.
I also appear on the Illegal Curve Hockey Show every Saturday on TSN 1290 Winnipeg starting at 9 am.
And I occasionally jump in the play-by-play booth at Bell MTS Place to provide colour analysis during Manitoba Moose games.