Jeffrey Viel Should Be a Priority UFA Signing for the Winnipeg Jets

Jeffrey Viel with the Manitoba Moose

One of the Winnipeg Jets’ free agent acquisitions in the 2023 offseason was 27-year-old Jeffrey Viel. The contract is pretty simple, one-year and $775,000 total. This gives the Winnipeg Jets an extra layer of physicality at their disposal that they could use at any given point in time.

The Rimouski, Quebec-native has a total of 49 career NHL games under his belt. He’s scored three goals and two assists for five points, however, it’s his 139 penalty minute total that make you wonder just how valuable Viel is to a team. While he has spent all 49 of his NHL games with the San Jose Sharks, Viel has also spent a significant amount of time down in the AHL since the 2018-19 season. Viel has established himself as a consistent 30 point player in the AHL, but he inserts energy and an unmatched physicality to his team.

In his 2023-24 season with the Manitoba Moose, Viel has scored 14 goals and 18 assists in 60 games at the time of writing. He’s also amassed 119 penalty minutes and has made his mark on the Moose’s first line with Kristian Reichel and Parker Ford. The line of Viel-Reichel-Ford has been known as the identity line throughout the season. This is certainly something the Moose need past this season and given the opportunity, the Winnipeg Jets could also use this. While there was a brief call up during the fiery Minnesota series, Viel did not see an NHL game, he was called up merely to knock Minnesota down a level or two.

With that said, the Winnipeg Jets don’t exactly have a lot of cap space heading into the 2024 offseason. They have key players to re-sign if they want to remain competitive, but they also have room to let some rookie players come play at the NHL level. If there’s one thing that wouldn’t surprise me, it’s Jeffrey Viel re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets and finding himself in a depth role in the 2024-25 season.

Making Viel a priority unrestricted free agent (UFA) signing not only bolsters the Winnipeg Jets depth, but it gives them that extra insurance once they need a tougher player inserted into the lineup. Given Viel’s strong performance with the Manitoba Moose this season, it’s more likely he stays with the Moose next year if he stays in Manitoba. However, if another team comes calling with a contract and an NHL roster spot, it’s an opportunity any player would take. With Viel being apart of the Moose’s identity line, it should be a matter of when and not if the Winnipeg Jets bring him into the fold next year.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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