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Photo Credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s Talk The Value Of Jets Contracts (Part 3)

This is now the third instalment in our contract series where we are examining every single Jets player and the value that their contract provides. In case you missed the preamble, check out part one here. You can also check out part two here where we took a look at three players with concerning contracts.

Part three is where we start to run into players who are signed to relatively fair contracts. In the cases of these players, despite the vast differences in the amount of money they are making, it accurately reflects their role and status with the team. They aren’t the worst deals, but they also aren’t the best in the organization.

Tucker Poolman

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It still remains a mystery whether or not Poolman will be able to make the full-time jump to the NHL in his career. While some people still label Poolman as a prospect, the reality is that he’s already 26 years old and likely done developing at this point in his career. Although Poolman managed to player 24 games with the Jets in 2017-18, he was sent back to the Moose in 2018-19 where his season got cut short due to injury.

The Jets currently have a few defensemen vying for the bottom pairing and Poolman will be in the mix when training camp rolls around.

In terms of Poolman’s contract, he has two year’s left with an AAV of $775k. While this isn’t quite the NHL minimum, it gives the team a very cheap option on defense if Poolman is able to step up his game. With two year’s left on the contract, if things don’t work out, the team isn’t committed to having him around long-term. The one interesting thing to note about Poolman’s deal is that it’s a one way contract. This means Poolman will get paid the same amount of money regardless if he plays for the Jets or the Moose. This won’t affect the Jets salary cap implications, but rather it’s a great deal for Poolman who was able to negotiate that added bonus.

Final Rating:

AAV – 3

Term – 3

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Overall value – 3 

Connor Hellebuyck

At this point, the story of Hellebuyck has been well documented. A former standout at every level finally made his mark during the 2017-18 season as a Vezina finalist. This performance earned him a big-time contract as he signed a massive six year deal worth $6.167 million per season. Things took a turn for the worse in 2018-19 as Hellebuyck was mediocre for most of the year. With five years left on his contract, the Jets are hoping he can return to form as quickly as possible.

In terms of cap hit, Hellebuyck ranks 7th among netminders. This is fair value as most experts would consider Hellebuyck among the top ten goalies in the league. The benefit of Hellebuyck’s contract is that it pales in comparison to the mega-deals signed by the elite goalies like Price and Bobrovsky.

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While the dollar value is fair, it’s tough to commit to a goalie for a long time given the strange nature of the position. Goalies can become hot or cold at any time which means a six year contract could cause issues down the road. On the other hand, it might become a massive bargain if Hellebuyck turns into a perennial Vezina finalist. The tough part is that nobody knows how the future will unfold, based on trajectory and percentages, there’s a strong chance that Hellebuyck remains in the upper echelon of starting netminders for the duration of this contract.

Overall, the reality is that Hellebuyck is a true number one goalie and he’s getting paid like it.

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Final Rating:

AAV – 4

Term – 2

Overall value – 3 

Laurent Brossoit

While I’m of the opinion that backup goalies should be near the minimum salary, Brossoit might be the exception. As mentioned above, goalies can have really strong or really poor seasons at a moments notice. Brossoit’s performance last season was brilliant and he earned his cap hit of $1.225 million.

The nature of the backup position is short contracts with very little job security. It’s a tough role to have, but the Jets are hoping Brossoit flourishes for the second straight year. By signing a one year contract, it gives Brossoit the motivation to be at the top of his game while also giving the Jets plenty of options for the future.

Final Rating:

AAV – 3

Term – 3

Overall value – 3

Blake Wheeler

There’s a certain level of comfort when the most important player on the roster is also the highest paid. While that’s likely to change later this summer with the new contract of Patrik Laine, for now, Wheeler is the highest paid member in the organization.

It’s a fitting spot for the captain who is clearly the team leader on and off the ice. When Wheeler signed his contract last September, it certainly fostered plenty of discussion among the fanbase. The five year contract comes into effect in the 2019-20 season with a cap hit of $8.250 million.

This cap hit makes Wheeler the 22nd highest paid forward in the league. This seems like fair value considering Wheeler’s last few seasons have him near the top of the league in points. Partner his ability to rack up assists with his strong leadership skills and you get one of the premier players in the NHL. The dollar value seems completely fair for all of the things Wheeler does within the organization.

The term of the contract is where things begin to go downhill. Although Wheeler is currently playing at a high level, having a player under contract until they are 37 years old is a very risky move. The nice thing about Wheeler is that his playing style caters to old age. Because his primary trait is passing, he will be able to do that even if he becomes a little slower over the next few years. Look no further than fellow playmaker Joe Thornton who just turned 40. Wheeler has also been extremely durable over his career so there is hope that he won’t miss a beat even as he begins to age.

Wheeler’s contract is interesting because it’s the largest that Winnipeg has, yet it comes in as a very fair deal for both parties. The Jets likely got Wheeler at a slightly less AAV because Wheeler was pushing for a longer contract. Both parties met in the middle and were able to get a deal done.

Final Rating:

AAV – 3.5

Term – 2

Overall value – 3