The strikes that Kevin Cheveldayoff made this offseason ensured that the Winnipeg Jets’ core can be in place for the subsequent three seasons. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers are underneath contract till 2023-24, together with 5 of the Jets’ present defence group and Connor Hellebuyck. In line with Cap Pleasant, the Jets are projected to have $12 million in cap area subsequent season with solely 12 gamers underneath contract. The Jets should discover worth contracts decrease within the lineup to assist their core. Listed below are three free brokers which might be more likely to return to the Jets within the 2022-23 season.
Pierre-Luc Dubois is in the midst of a breakout season. He has 14 objectives and 11 assists by way of 30 video games, and has grown the defensive facet of his recreation. When the Jets traded Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic for Dubois, he was labelled to be the Jets’ second-line centre of the long run. With Scheifele lacking video games because of COVID-19, Dubois was compelled into the first-line centre position, and he thrived there.
Associated: Predicting Pierre-Luc Dubois’ Subsequent Contract
In the meanwhile, Dubois has been put again on the second line, however the Jets needs to be thrilled that Dubois has taken a significant step this season. This now offers interim head coach Dave Lowry and the group an elite one-two punch at centre, which most groups within the NHL can not matchup with.
Dubois’ upcoming contract can be an attention-grabbing negotiation. On New 12 months’s Eve of 2020, he signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This deal gave him the chance to show to himself and administration that he deserved an even bigger contract, and he has greater than earned it. If Dubois retains up this near-point-per-game tempo that he’s presently on, the Jets will need to signal him to a long-term deal. He might demand wherever from a $6 million contract to an $8 million contract relying on how he finishes this season, however the Jets can have the cap area to retain him and nonetheless spend cash elsewhere.
Subsequent on the Jets’ precedence record is Dubois’ linemate, Evgeny Svechnikov. There has arguably not been a extra nice shock to the Jets than his emergence this season. The Jets supplied Svechnikov knowledgeable tryout throughout coaching camp earlier than providing him a one-year contract. Now, he has turn into a ahead that may play up and down Winnipeg’s prime 9 successfully.
Svechnikov solely has two objectives and 6 assists this season in 28 video games. On paper, it doesn’t look as if he has been an efficient top-six ahead for the Jets this season, however some superior analytics level to the truth that he has. Dubois, Svechnikov, and Connor have discovered instantaneous chemistry and shaped probably the greatest first strains within the NHL. In line with Moneypuck.com, within the 145 minutes they’ve performed collectively at even power, that prime line outscored their opponents 7-4 and dominated the proportion of each Corsi at 55.7 % and anticipated objectives at 58.7 %. If Svechnikov continues to play effectively on Winnipeg’s prime line and his contract subsequent 12 months stays underneath $2 million, he’ll proceed to be a worth.
David Gustafsson has performed his final two seasons with the Manitoba Moose and has only recently been known as as much as play with the Jets. He performs a really particular, minimal position and the transfer made an excessive amount of sense for the Jets to not do it. The group desperately wanted gamers that may kill penalties, and Gustafsson is simply that. Will he utterly repair the penalty kill that’s presently thirty first within the league at 70.6 %? In all probability not. However killing penalties and profitable faceoffs is what he was drafted to do. He was drafted within the second spherical in 2018 to be a middle-six defensive ahead, much like teammates Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry.
Gustafsson might additionally present a scoring enhance to the Jets’ backside six. He got here into coaching camp as a defensive specialist, however with 14 factors in 18 video games with the Moose this season, it appears he has began to unlock the offensive facet of his recreation. As a result of there’s such an outlined position for him to reach subsequent season, the Jets re-signing him to be a contributor on the third or fourth line is extremely probably. He’ll be low-cost and efficient in the intervening time, and he’ll solely get higher with the enjoying time he’s given.
With their core in place and cap area arduous to return by, the Jets probably gained’t be signing many unrestricted free brokers within the upcoming offseason. If that’s the case, the Jets should depend on their younger gamers comparable to Cole Perfetti, Kristian Vesalainen, and Gustafsson to be constant contributors subsequent season.
My title is Connor Hrabchak. I’m 19 years outdated, and I’m presently working in direction of finishing my communications and media diploma. I used to be born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I’ve been a die-hard fan of the Winnipeg Jets ever since they moved again to Winnipeg in 2011, which has impressed me to write down about hockey and try to make it right into a full-time profession.