It’s been a long journey, but we have finally reached the end of our contract series where we are examining every single Winnipeg Jets player and their respective contracts. We have been working our way from the least to most valuable contracts and we have three players left to discuss.
If you’ve been following along, surely you can guess which three players are on deck. Even if you haven’t been following the series, you can likely make a strong guess as to the best three contracts on the team. Let’s take a look as we conclude our contract value series.
Possibly one of the best kept secrets on the team is how effective Adam Lowry is. He doesn’t get the recognition league-wide, but Lowry is one of the top defensive players in the game. He could easily be a second line centre on most teams and there have been times where Lowry plays like the second line centre on the Jets.
Despite being an excellent defensive and possession player, Lowry’s offense is slightly lacking. For the Jets however, it’s a good compliment because they already have so much offensive talent in the top six. Players like Lowry are extremely valuable to have in the bottom six because they are dependable and can take the tough assignments every game.
Lowry’s contract has two years remaining at just under $3 million per season. Having a consistently strong possession player that can kill penalties and play strong defense against opposition’s best makes the contract look like a bargain.
Lowry will become a UFA for the first time in the summer of 2021 and there’s no way of knowing what he might be offered on the open market. In the meantime, the Jets can rely on Lowry every single night for a very reasonable cap hit.
AAV – 4.5
Term – 4
Overall value – 4.5
It was a down year for Ehlers last season as he finished with his lowest point total of his career. Ehlers’ season can be misleading though as he did miss 20 games with an injury in the new year. Even when factoring that in, Ehlers’ point totals were down compared to the prior two seasons.
While this could be a reason to be pessimistic, I believe the opposite as Ehlers could be primed for a bounce back season. He’s too fast and too skilled not to get back to his form of two seasons ago. There seems to be another level Ehlers can get to which would be great for the Jets. If he can continue to develop alongside the other Jets youngsters, he will be a dangerous player for the duration of this contract.
Ehlers contract is a really strong deal for the club as it pays him $6 million per year for the next six seasons. At Ehlers current ability, the dollar figure is fairly accurate as he falls in line with most players getting paid around the $6 million mark. Where this contract could become exceptionally valuable is if Ehlers can take another step forward over the next year or two. If he can bump his production up to a consistent 30 goal and 70 point player, the Jets will have an extremely valuable asset for many years to come.
In addition, if the cap rises over the next six years, Ehlers’ contract would become even more of a bargain. Having a young, budding asset at a controlled price for the next six seasons is a great thing for the organization.
This becomes even more magnified with the current holdouts of Connor and Laine. Both players are expected to get paid much more than Ehlers despite having similar impacts. Connor specifically has had a fairly similar path to Ehlers and he will likely get paid much more than Ehlers currently does. This goes to show that signing Ehlers to a long-term deal a few years ago will payoff down the road.
AAV – 4
Term – 5
Overall value – 4.5
I’m sure it was obvious, but Mark Scheifele clearly has the most team-friendly contract in the entire organization. There’s no doubt that Scheifele ranks among the league’s best players as he’s averaged more than a point per game over the last three seasons.
While Scheifele plays like one of the top centres in the league, he’s not getting paid like it as he currently sits in year four of an eight year contract worth $6.125 million per season. This is exceptional considering there are 28 other centres who are getting paid more. If you think Scheifele is a top 10 centre, which isn’t a huge stretch, then he should be getting paid at least $8.5 million per season. That’s nearly $2.5 million of savings when comparing to market average.
The other fantastic part of Scheifele’s deal is the term. Scheifele went with the max contract of eight seasons when he signed his deal. At the time, he was trending upwards, but hadn’t quite hit his prime yet. The Jets were able to see that Scheifele had more to give on the ice and were able to lock him up for the longest term possible. This means that Winnipeg can enjoy Scheifele’s game for another five seasons at this phenomenal price before he becomes a free agent in 2024.
That makes Scheifele, by far, the most valuable contract in the entire organization.
AAV – 5
Term – 5
Overall value – 5