NHL News

Jets ink Scheifele, Hellebuyck to matching deals

The Winnipeg Jets announced Monday that franchise cornerstones Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck signed identical seven-year contract extensions carrying an average annual value of $8.5 million.

Scheifele and Hellebuyck are into the final seasons of their previous deals and were set to become unrestricted free agents July 1. The two stars — who have spent their entire careers in Winnipeg — will be 38 years old when their new pacts expire.

Both players fielded questions throughout the summer and training camp about their desire to remain with the organization long-term. Ultimately, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff — pestered himself by rumors of possible trade partners for the players — was able to keep them in the fold and remove any lingering distractions before the Jets open their regular-season slate Wednesday against the Calgary Flames.

It was important to the Jets’ future that their homegrown talents committed to sticking around. Scheifele — drafted seventh overall by the Jets in 2011 — has been one of the team’s top forwards for nearly a decade. In 723 career games, Scheifele has collected 272 goals and 645 points while carrying a heavy workload at 5-on-5 and special teams.

Hellebuyck — a fifth-round pick by the Jets in 2012 — has evolved into not only Winnipeg’s No. 1 netminder but one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. Since 2016-17, Hellebuyck has started more games (410) than any other goalie, with a 225-143-36 record, .916 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average. He now will be paid like one of the league’s best, too, on par with the New York IslandersIlya Sorokin and right behind the Florida PanthersSergei Bobrovsky.

Now that the Jets have handled negotiations with Scheifele and Hellebuyck, the team can turn toward its prospects on the ice. Winnipeg lost in the first round of the playoffs last season (to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights), and the team’s postseason play has been inconsistent since a Western Conference finals appearance in 2017-18. The Jets’ prospects of returning to that level are vastly improved with Scheifele and Hellebuyck involved, especially after the departure of former top-six forward Pierre-Luc Dubois in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings earlier this offseason.

Articles You May Like

Utah Hockey Club Releases Inaugural Branding, Colors, and Jerseys
OHL: Revisiting Spitfires-67’s June 2019 Matthew Maggio Trade
Oilers Survive Panthers’ Late Push to Force Game 6
Utah Hockey Club will be name of NHL’s newest team for inaugural season
Likeliest Canadiens Trade Targets at Forward in 2024 Offseason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *