Not to worry, Winnipeg Jets fans: At least one of your two prized restricted free agents will be starting the 2019-20 season with the team.
Patrik Laine and the Jets have agreed to a two-year deal with an AAV of $6.75 million. Per Craig Custance of The Athletic, he’ll make $6 million in the first year of the contract and $7.5 million in the second.
It’s the type of deal to be expected of someone looking to prove their value and ability to be consistent in the league. After finding the back of the net 44 times during the 2017-18 season (good for second in the NHL) and collecting 70 points, the 21-year-old scored 30 goals and only racked up 50 points last season. Eighteen of those tallies, however, came in November as the second-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft only scored nine goals over his final 58 games.
Laine travelled back to Finland from Switzerland on Friday and will soon be heading to Manitoba, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. He was skating with SC Bern while his contract negotiations were taking place.
Per PuckPedia, the Jets now have $7.26 million in cap space to sign Kyle Connor, the squad’s other offensively talented restricted free agent. That figure includes Dustin Byfuglien’s cap hit of $7.6 million while he decides on his future in the sport.
Other than Connor, the only remaining restricted free agent without a deal ahead of the upcoming season is Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche. However, per Johnston, he may also be close to signing.
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