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The Jets make qualifying offers to 5 players on the eve of free agency day

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
14 days ago
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The eve of free agency day is upon us. Today was a busy day around the NHL, with teams making qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents. Others signings and moves were made today around the league as teams prepare for the most frantic, and possibly exciting day of the NHL off-season tomorrow afternoon. The Jets announced at the 4 P.M CT deadline that they have made qualifying offers to 5 players, while 2 players were not given qualifying offers and will become free agents. I want to briefly go through each player and touch on what their expectations might be like for next season.
The 5 players that the Jets made qualifying offers to:
Ville Heinola (D)
Simon Lundmark (D)
Logan Stanley (D)
David Gustafsson (F)
Cole Perfetti (F)
The 2 players that the Jets did not make qualifying offers to:
Oskari Salminen (G)
Artemi Kniazev (D)
Heinola, 23, is looking to breakthrough into a Jets roster spot next season. The former 1st round pick from 2019 has spent most of the past 2 seasons with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL. Last season, in 41 games, Heinola tallied 10 goals and added 17 assists for 27 points. Heinola still has limited NHL experience, only 35 games since being drafted, but fans believe Heinola should get a chance to play in the 2024-25 season.
Lundmark, also 23, is a Swedish right defence who was selected in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft. After developing in the Swedish Junior league, Lundmark has spent 3 full season with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL. In 67 games last season, Lundmark scored 5 times and added 12 assists for 17 points. The development of Lundmark’s game hasn’t been too noticeable compared to other Jets prospects, but you shouldn’t count out a chance for Lundmark to make the NHL at some point in the coming seasons.
Stanley, 26, is another former 1st round pick, from 2016, who is looking to prove himself next season with the Jets. As one of the tallest players in the league, Stanley is a defensive force when he plays the right style of hockey that fits his frame. Similar to the other players listed thus far, Stanley has to show that he can stay in an everyday role in the NHL. Injuries have affected Stanley in the past 2 seasons, so the priority this season for Stanley will be remaining healthy.
Gustafsson, 24, is a former 2nd round pick from 2018 who has spent parts of the last 2 seasons with the Jets. The development of Gustafsson’s game became more evident this season, and he’s a player that fans are hoping plays a bigger role next season. He’s one of those players that you can describe as a “workhorse”, and his nickname “The Gus Bus” accurately depicts his style of play in a bottom 6 forward role.
Perfetti, 22, is yet another former 1st round pick, this time from 2020, who hopes to build off a quite successful 2nd full season with the Jets. In 71 games, Perfetti scored 19 goals and added 19 assists for 38 points. The 1st half of the season was where Perfetti really stood out, and it appeared as if he was finally playing to his full potential. The 2nd half of the season didn’t go as well for Perfetti, and after a few games in and out of the lineup, his season didn’t end how he would have hoped. Regardless, Perfetti may be the most exciting player to watch for out of the qualified players next season, as he could very well be ready to take on an everyday top 6 forward role.
The 1st of 2 players who were not offered a qualifying offer is Oskari Salminen. The undrafted Finnish goalie is 24 years, and split the 2023-24 season between the Manitoba Moose in the AHL and the Norfolk Admirals in the ECHL. The Jets have a strong goalie pipeline, including prospects Thomas Milic and Dom DiVincentiis, so the decision to let Salminen leave is understandable from an outside perspective.
Kniazev, 23, is a Russian defender originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft. Kniazev played 20 games for the Manitoba Moose in the AHL this season, collecting 5 assists. Later in the season, Kniazev went to the KHL, playing for Kazan Ak-Bars where he collected 0 points in 18 games. The Jets move on from this prospect who appears to be focused on playing internationally in the near future.
Overall, the reactions on social media to these qualifying offers were pretty much as expected. There weren’t any real surprises, and fans are excited to see how each of these players continues to progress in the 2024-25 season. Whether it’s aiming to play full-time in the NHL, or making a big impact on the Jets top lines, these are players that fans will be watching closely to see what they bring to the organization. It’s time now for teams to rest up for tomorrow morning, when the free agency window opens at 11 A.M CT.

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