It seems like the NHL is finally figuring out some of the details to this one-of-a-kind off-season. The draft and free agency details were released last week while this week had news about the restricted free agents.
all of which takes on more importance than normal this year because of the flat cap environment and some teams thinking long and hard about certain RFAs and whether they will be qualified or not. If they're not qualified, they become UFAs.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 14, 2020
The Winnipeg Jets have four important RFA’s to worry about this year with a handful of other RFA’s on the Moose. The important players to watch for are Jack Roslovic, Jansen Harkins, Mason Appleton, and Sami Niku.
Over the next week, we will take a look at each of these four players and speculate what their future will look like in Winnipeg.
Today the spotlight is on Jack Roslovic.
Thomas did a great job breaking down Roslovic’s potential as he speculated whether or not Roslovic has a chance to hit the 20 goal mark next season.
Roslovic is an interesting player because of his unnatural progression since coming into the league. At first glance, it appears he’s developing quite nicely as he’s increased his point totals each season. However, when you look a little closer, the development is actually concerning. Sure, the point totals have increased each year, but the rate at which he is scoring is decreasing. Roslovic’s highest scoring rate was actually during his rookie season when he played 31 games in 2017/2018. He scored 0.88 goals per 60 minutes and recorded 1.41 assists per 60 minutes. Those are some terrific numbers and Roslovic wasn’t able to keep up the pace in year two or three.
His goals per 60 has gone from 0.88 in 2017-2018 to 0.35 in 2018-2019 to 0.64 this past season while the assist rates have gone from 1.41 to 1.13 and now to 0.83 this season. (All numbers are at 5 on 5 and courtesy of naturalstattrick.com)
Based on these numbers, it’s really tough to know what is going to happen with Roslovic in the future. There’s definitely a chance that he makes a breakthrough in his fourth season, but he hasn’t really seized his opportunity to this point.
This discussion then begs the question: Where does Roslovic fit in the lineup?
He’s bounced around the second and third lines over the past few years, but he hasn’t quite shown enough consistency to force Maurice to give him more minutes. That being said, there’s an opening in the top six heading into this season and Roslovic needs to make a strong impression to be considered for the role.
In my opinion, this is the defining season in Roslovic’s career. If he can break through and become a dependable secondary scoring option, he could find a home in the top six for years to come. However, if he has another down season with too many scoring droughts, he will likely find himself on the third or fourth line in a depth role, possibly for the rest of his career.
In other words, it’s now or never for Roslovic to show his potential.
Given the nature of Roslovic’s career thus far, a short-term deal is likely in the best interest of both parties. It will be unlikely to see a long-term contract which the likes of Connor and Morrissey have recently signed. Instead, a bridge deal would satisfy both parties by allowing Roslovic a couple of years to really showcase his talent without Winnipeg being locked in for too long.
When looking at the contract specifics, it is always helpful to look at comparable players. Here’s a table with last year’s crop of RFA’s with similar numbers to Roslovic. Almost all of the similar players signed a contract between one and three years with an AAV between $1 million or $2 million.
Based on these comparables, it seems like Roslovic will slot in with a very similar contract. A reasonable deal would be for two years with an AAV of roughly $1.75 to $2 million.
It’s then up to Roslovic to decide what he does with the opportunity.