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Mathieu Perreault signs four-year extension with Jets

Winnipeg forward had 41 points in 71 games last season @NHLdotcom

Forward Mathieu Perreault signed a four-year, $16.5 million contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The contract has an average annual value of $4.125 million per season.

Perreault, 28, had nine goals and 41 points in 71 games last season. He could have been an unrestricted free agent after this season. 

"Very exciting news for us and for the entire franchise," general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff told the Jets website. "His game, it's an infectious game. He's a guy that likes the puck on his stick and can make plays. Good on the power plays, can play center, can play wing. Shown his versatility in a lot of different areas. That kind of versatility and enthusiasm and what he is like in the room, and the chemistry that's there with him and the coaching staff, there's lots of positives."

Selected by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round (No. 177) of the 2006 NHL Draft, Perreault spent four seasons with the Capitals before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 29, 2013. He set an NHL career high with 43 points in 69 games with the Ducks in 2013-14. Instead of remaining with Anaheim, Perreault decided to sign a three-year contract with the Jets in 2014, and has had back-to-back seasons of 41 points with Winnipeg. 

"Mathieu has found his place, found his home," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "He's played the best hockey of his career here. He's excited. He fits. And he's become a really versatile player for us on the wings and at center ice. And I think style of game too. When the fans come and watch him and the players on the bench really appreciate his tenacity. For not a big guy (5-foot-10, 188 pounds), he plays with a big heart. We're very fortunate and pleased he picked us again."

Maurice said he was impressed by the way Perreault played at center after Bryan Little sustained a fractured vertebrae against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 19 and was ruled out for the rest of the regular season. The Jets have plenty of forwards on the roster, as well as young prospects, to occupy wing positions this season.

Perreault is expected to play in "the most versatile role," according to Maurice. 

"Some of what will decide that is what these other young players that come in [do] and who makes the team," Maurice said. "One of the things that came out of Bryan Little's injury and some other injuries, I liked the way [Mathieu] played at center. That's the position he probably enjoys the most and we've got wingers coming and we've got a lot of speed and you saw it here at development camp. We've got some kids coming and pushing for those wing jobs, so it's an option for us to put him back in the middle."

Perreault has 78 goals and 195 points in 361 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Jets. 

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