The Winnipeg Jets made another offseason splash on Friday, signing defenseman Tobias Enstrom to a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2017-18 season.
Enstrom, 28, has spent his entire five-year career with the Jets/Thrashers organization, emerging as one of the league’s better offensive defensemen.
In 2007-08, he parlayed a 5G-33A-38PTS season into a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie team and in 2010-11, earned his first All-Star team nod by posting 10 goals and 41 assists (he finished t-5th among all defensemen with 51 points.)
Enstrom is the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise leader amongst defensemen in games played, points and assists.
Enstrom signed the extension with one year left on his four-year, $15 million deal that paid $3.75 million annually. He was set to become a UFA next summer, but it’s clear the Jets wanted no part of him flirting with free agency.
The signing is the latest in what’s been a busy summer in the ‘Peg:
Ondrej Pavelec (five years, $19.5 million)
Olli Jokinen (two years, $9 million)
Alexei Ponikarovsky (one year, $1.8 million)
Kyle Wellwood (one year, $1.6 million)
The Jets have also reportedly offered RFA forward Evander Kane a six year deal worth around $29 million.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.