JETS DOUBLE DOWN WITH TWO BIG DEALS
2023-10-10 · 2 min read · NHL/Hockey
Colby Spence/Illegal Curve
The Winnipeg Jets announced Monday they have signed forward Mark Scheifele and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to identical seven-year contract extensions with an average annual value of $8.5 million. Scheifele, 30, was the first player drafted by the Jets after their return to Winnipeg when he was picked in the first round (seventh overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft. The Kitchener, Ont. native is entering his 11th full season and scored a career-high 42 goals in 2022-23. Hellebuyck, 30, was drafted in the fifth round by Winnipeg in 2012 and will begin his ninth full season with the club.
Scheifele who was entering the last year of a eight year deal has tallied 272 goals and 373 assists in 723 regular-season games with Winnipeg. The Jets alternate captain is an elite two-way centre with good vision and even better hands. Hellebuyck is coming off another great season in which he had 37 wins, a 2.49 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and four shutouts, earning him another Vezina nomination as the league’s top goaltender. The Commerce, Michigan., native won the Vezina Trophy in 2020 and was also a finalist for the award last season and in 2018. Hellebuyck has a record of 238-154-37 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 445 career regular season games.
Both players will be 38 when their deals expire, meaning these are potentially the last contracts they’ll sign in the NHL. Per CapFriendly, Winnipeg now has around $18MM in cap space for the 2024-25 campaign. With no other big negotiations to worry about (other than young forward Cole Perfetti), it’s a reasonable financial picture for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff; one likely to make him happy as he enters his 12th year on the job. The Jets open their season against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.
By: Chase Howard