Connect with us

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets GM asked about possibility team signs Bryan Little so he can retire as a Jet

Seems like it’s simply a question of when not if fans will see number 18 retire as a Jet.

Former Jets centre Bryan Little last suited up in a Winnipeg uniform back on November 5th, 2019 in a game against the Devils when he took a puck to the head which left his playing status for the rest of that season uncertain. Even at the end of that 2019-20 season there wasn’t certainty about his future as he continued to speak about his road to recovery. At the start of the 2020-21 season GM Kevin Cheveldayoff indicated that doctors had recommended Little not play that season.

With the Jets needing to make some room he was dealt on March 3rd, 2021 along with the signing rights to prospect Nathan Smith to the Arizona Coyotes for a 4th round pick in 2022. As I wrote at the time it was one final assist by Bryan Little for the Jets organization as he had to waive his modified no-trade clause in order to be dealt to the Coyotes.

Photo Credit: Colby Spence (Illegal Curve)

In May of 2023 he was being inducted into Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame and the subject of his retiring as a Jet came up. Bill Doucet of the Cambridge Times wrote this:

Once his contract runs out with the Coyotes, he said it would be an honour to sign a one-day contract with Winnipeg to retire with the Jets.

“I’m not sure how the logistics of that work and who would be in charge of that, but that would definitely be cool to kind of end as a Jet,” Little said.

Fast forward almost 14 months and now Bryan Little is officially a free agent as his contract with Arizona (now Utah) came to an end on July 1st. A week later at our end of Development Camp chat with Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on Sunday at the hockey for all centre the question of retiring Little as a Jet came up.

“I hope so. We’ll get a chance to talk to Bryan at some point here. He’s a special part of our organization and always will be.”

Seems like it’s more a matter of the organization finding a good time to honour Little for his time spent with the only franchise he took to the ice for in his playing career.

Photo Credit: Colby Spence (Illegal Curve)

He was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers 12th overall in the 2006 Draft. After four years in the OHL with Barrie he jumped to the NHL/AHL for the 2007-08 season with Atlanta/Chicago. He would play the next three seasons as a big part of the Thrashers team before moving with the club to Winnipeg and becoming an even more integral piece for the hockey club. Little wore an ‘A’ for three seasons and was part of the deepest run a Jets team has ever gone in the playoffs when they went to the Western Conference Finals in 2017-18. In total he played eight seasons with the Jets and was injured in what would have been season number nine in Manitoba.

Despite the fact he hasn’t played a game in over four seasons he remains on the All-Time franchise Jets lists for:

6th for games played with 561
5th for goals with 149
7th for assists with 223
5th for points with 372
5th for game-winning goals with 25

And when you factor in his time for the Jets/Thrashers combined organizations these All-Time numbers are:

2nd for games played with 843
5th for goals with 217
3rd for assists with 304
4th for points with 521
6th for game-winning goals with 32.