The Winnipeg Jets have signed Bryan Little to a six-year, $31.75 million contract extension. The deal carries an average annual value of $5.291 million, up from $4.7 million on his current contract. This may be one of the better signings of the off-season, as Little has done a lot with a struggling franchise. In the last 10 seasons, the franchise has only made the playoffs twice, and failed to win a round.
Now on the cusp of what could be a playoff push this year, Little’s value has finally been quantified. With Laine, Trouba for a full season and now Calder winner Steve Mason, the Jets are a formidable squad.
The Center was entering the final season his five-year, $23.5 million contract signed with the Jets in 2013.
Little scored 21 goals and posted 47 points in 59 games last season. He has missed at least 20 games in each of the previous two seasons due to injury. That being said if he can remain healthy he is an extremely productive player and play-maker to have on your top two lines. Ideally he would be paired with Wheeler, who is tearing up the league on a point per game basis. Little also leads at center on the PP.
Little, a veteran of 672 games all with the Jets franchise, was selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. The 29-year-old scored a career-high 31 goals in 79 games with the Thrashers during the 2008-09 season.
Let’s look at his PPG numbers for a team that struggled to make the post season since their move to Winnipeg in 2012. They lost to the Ducks in the first round in 2014-15. The franchise (while located in Atlanta made the playoffs in 2006-07, but did not return.
If Little is able to stay healthy and contribute at a similar rate (lets say he misses 5 games, and plays at a 0.75 points per game) he could potentially top 55 points. Also factor in Laine on the PP, as well as Trouba behind him.
Along with Mark Scheifele, Little is now one of two Jets signed through the 2023-24 season. He will remain the fifth highest paid Jet, behind Dustin Byfuglien, Scheifele, Toby Enstrom and Blake Wheeler. He will turn 30 on November 12.