The Winnipeg Jets have traded goalie Steve Mason, right wing Joel Armia, a seventh-round pick in 2019, and a fourth-round pick in 2020 to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Simon Bourque.

The Jets get: Valuable, valuable cap space ($4.1 million per season) from Mason’s contract, which is payable for one more season. As well, Armia is an RFA who was also due for a pay increase. This really matters for the Jets because their chances of re-signing UFA Paul Stastny now improve. The Jets currently possess considerable cap space, but Connor Hellebuyck, Jacob Trouba, and Josh Morrissey (among many others) are all RFAs.

Bourque is a 21-year-old defenseman who played for the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate in Laval last season. He was a sixth-round pick of the Habs back in 2015.

The Canadiens get: At first glance, this trade seemed puzzling from the Habs’ perspective, with Carey Price and Antti Niemi already under contract and Charlie Lindgren in the AHL. However…

UPDATE: Per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet:


So with the addition of Armia, the Habs are simply weaponizing cap space by taking on a contract that another team wants to dump in order to take another player that they really want to add (think the recent Conor Sheary/Matt Hunwick trade, or Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell to the Hurricanes), while also adding draft picks. Armia was buried in the Jets’ bottom 6 and probably wouldn’t be seeing the light of day anytime soon with the Jets’ deep forward attack.

Fantasy Players Impacted: Given the lack of clear-cut starting goalies available as UFAs, Mason should find another home somewhere, most likely in a goaltending timeshare situation. Let’s defer on whether this trade helps or hurts Mason until we know his final landing spot. The Jets still need to find a backup goalie, as Michael Hutchinson is a UFA, but at least they won’t be paying said backup $4 million. Purely academic by now, but the trade also cements Hellebuyck as the Jets' starting goalie going forward. 

This move helps Armia from an even-strength minutes perspective, as he could easily slot into a second-line role with his new team. He has some power-play experience as well, averaging 1:30 in power-play time on ice per game on the Jets’ second unit. Expect him to fill a similar role with the Habs. Andrew Shaw could be pushed down to more of a checking-line role, which might be a better fit given his style of play. Keep in mind that the Habs may not be done, especially if they find a way to trade Max Pacioretty.

With Armia gone, Brandon Tanev or Marko Dano could also move into a more prominent role now that there is an opening on the right side (both are currently RFAs and have received qualifying offers). Andrew Copp could also step into some second-unit power-play time.

Fantasy players this helps, in order:

Joel Armia

Connor Hellebuyck

Brandon Tanev

Marko Dano

Andrew Copp

Fantasy players this hurts, in order:  

Andrew Shaw


Fantasy owners are already discussing the trade in the Forum. Give your take here!