Following a respectable 2018-19 campaign, the Winnipeg Jets were hopeful forward Jack Roslovic would be able to take another step forward with his development this past season and he did exactly that in a contract year, resulting in the best statistical performance of his career.
While the league’s shutdown ended his third season prematurely, the 23-year old still found a way to improve his craft, making encouraging gains to nearly every facet of his game over the winter. Despite splitting time between Winnipeg’s second and third lines, he was still able to produce career-highs offensively and also polished the physical aspect of his role as well.
After scoring nine goals and 24 points last season, Roslovic saw his ice time increase by 5:09 minutes per game, producing 12 goals, 0.17 goals per game, 29 points, 0.41 points per game, 117 shots on net, 58 hits, 24 takeaways, 21 blocks, along with a 47.3 faceoff win percentage through 71 games during the 2019-20 season.
Though the Jets playoff run ended after just four games, the former first-round pick played a major role on the team’s second line throughout their series against the Calgary Flames. While the youngster couldn’t find the back of the net, he found other ways to be productive this summer.
Over those four losses, Roslovic averaged 16:41 minutes of ice time, racking up a pair of assists, 10 shots on net, two hits and takeaways, one block, and he also won three of his five faceoff opportunities.
Based on his production over the last two seasons, it’s probably fair to say the right-hander has a decent chance to hit at least 20 goals next season if it’s played over a full 82-game schedule. Regardless of the length of next season, his recent track record shows his offensive production will likely increase even further during the 2020-21 campaign.
With that said, his performance will largely be determined by which line he’s positioned on and which players are lined up next to him in 2021. Depending on what happens with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers this offseason, there’s a chance Roslovic could return to the Jets’ second line and potentially serve as that unit’s center as well.
But if the Ohio native is bumped down to the third line, then his chances of crossing the 20-goal plateau would be impacted significantly, as he’d witness his playing time drop from his 2019-20 total. As a result, the former Moose would likely struggle to surpass his goal total from last season and he might not even score at least 10 goals next season either.
Along with determining which line Roslovic will play on next season, the Jets will also need to negotiate a new contract with him over the fall. Considering the young forward hasn’t touched his ceiling just yet, and there’s a chance he may never live up to his first-round expectations, it would make plenty of sense to sign him to a short-term bridge deal.
So what would a new deal look like? Well, the 6-foot-1 forward certainly wouldn’t break the bank for Winnipeg. Since he owns similar results to Matt Nieto, who has produced 27 goals and 70 points since the 2017-18 season, it would make a ton of sense to sign him to a similar contract.
Entering his age-25 season, Nieto agreed to a two-year, $3.95 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche before the 2018-19 campaign and the deal has ultimately worked out for both sides. At just $1.975 million per season, this type of deal would keep one of the Jets’ top young players under contract through the next two seasons at a very inexpensive price.
Whenever his contract negations finish, and they shouldn’t take very long, Roslovic will need to continue working hard over these next couple of months to make a strong impression once training camp opens. If he can earn a job on Winnipeg’s second line, No. 28 should have a very good chance to hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career.