Vancouver Canucks trade Nate Schmidt to Winnipeg Jets for 2022 third-round draft pick

The Vancouver Canucks traded Nate Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, the teams announced, after the defenseman reportedly blocked previous attempts to move him there.

The Jets acquired Schmidt, 30, for a 2022 third-round draft pick. The Canucks had previously acquired Schmidt from the Vegas Golden Knights in October 2020 for a 2022 third-round draft pick as well.

The trade occurs after Winnipeg sent two second-round picks to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Brenden Dillon on Monday night, ostensibly because Schmidt refused to be traded to the Jets. The Winnipeg Sun reported that the Jets made "several attempts" to acquire Schmidt, but that he wouldn't waive his modified no-trade clause to facilitate the deal.

That changed on Tuesday, as he rejoins former Golden Knights teammate Paul Stastny in Winnipeg. Known for his puck-moving ability, Schmidt never clicked with the Vancouver system, tallying 15 points in 54 games after amassing 97 points in 196 games in three seasons in Vegas, where Schmidt was selected in the 2017 expansion draft. He has 155 points in 450 career games, having started his career with the Capitals.

Schmidt is signed through the 2024-25 season with a $5.95 million cap hit.

Combined with their buyout of goalie Braden Holtby on Tuesday, the Canucks have slightly over $26 million in open cap space ahead of the start of free agency Wednesday. A good chunk of that will be spent on contracts for young stars center Elias Pettersson and defenseman Quinn Hughes, both of whom are restricted free agents.