The Winnipeg Jets have made an addition up the middle, acquiring centre Cody Eakin from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a conditional 2021 fourth-round draft pick.

Eakin Is Coming Home

Eakin, a 28-year-old Winnipeg-born centre, will join a Jets’ team battling for a Western Conference wild card spot. Chosen in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, he is having a down season, with four goals and six assists in 41 games this season. Last season, he set career-highs in goals with 22 and points with 41.

Prior to being claimed by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft, Eakin spent five seasons with the Dallas Stars. In 578 career regular season games between the Golden Knights, Stars, and Capitals, Eakin has 102 goals and 130 assists. He is on the last year of a four-year deal that pays him $3.85 million annually.

Cody Eakin #21, Vegas Golden Knights
The trade, at first glance, is mutually beneficial: the Jets add scoring depth for cheap and the Golden Knights shed salary. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Winnipeg Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said earlier this week, after acquiring defenseman Dylan DeMelo, that he would look be looking to adding a forward. His needs have become more clear recently as Bryan Little was confirmed out for the season and Adam Lowry hasn’t played since mid-January.

Related: Winnipeg Jets in Tough Shape After Losing Lowry Long-Term

Adding Eakin may result in a domino effect for the Jets. It could allow Blake Wheeler — who has been playing centre since Little’s injury in early-November — to return to wing full-time and let Andrew Copp return to centre, where he’s most effective. Eakin will slot into the Jets’ bottom-six, either as the third or fourth-line centre.

Golden Knights Dump Salary

The move is a salary-dump for the Golden Knights and frees up nearly $4 million of cap space they can work with prior to Monday’s trade deadline. They don’t retain any of his salary.

The Golden Knights sit first in the Pacific Division with a 32-22-8 record; they are gearing up for another Stanley Cup run, having acquired defenseman Alec Martinez from the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Vegas Golden Knights Peter DeBoer
The Golden Knights are first in the Pacific Division with 72 points and are 8-3-2 since Peter DeBoer took the helm. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

The conditional 2021 fourth-round pick from the Jets becomes a third-rounder if the Jets qualify for the playoffs or re-sign Eakin in the offseason.