Every long-term contract comes with its risks, but even in that context, the Winnipeg Jets took a chance by inking defenseman Zach Bogosian to a seven-year, $36 million contract yesterday.
Bogosian has already enjoyed some solid seasons, but the Jets are paying him under the belief that the 23-year-old will develop into an elite blueliner. In other words, this is a contract they’re hoping he grows into.
“Well, Zach is still a very young player when it comes to defenseman age. There’s lots of room for his game to grow, and I think that’s the exciting aspect. We have Zach locked up for what are the best years of a defenseman’s career,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said, according to the Winnipeg Sun.
“Zach is someone that we wanted to show our faith in we know that as he continues to grow (as) a defenseman, his role and his leadership and all aspects of his game are going to help this team to get to the next level.
“He is someone that I really believe there’s a tremendous amount of untapped potential that as he continues to mature as a player is going to blossom. His skating ability, his shot, his size, his work ethic, his physical strength. He’s a young defenseman that, for us, is going to continue to grow.”
For his part, Bogosian is humbled and happy that Winnipeg was willing to show this level of trust in him. That being said, he doesn’t seem particularly worried about the increased criticisms that potentially comes with a contract of this size.
“It’s not my job to listen to people that say I’m overpaid or underpaid or whatever,” Bogosian said. “It’s just my job to go out there and do the right things and help the team win.”
Bogosian added that he wants to play a leadership role by setting a good example with his level of effort.
The then Atlanta Thrashers took Bogosian with the third overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s recorded 103 points and 237 penalty minutes in 297 games. He’s also suffered a variety of injuries over the last few years that’s limited him to 71 games in 2010-11, 65 contests in 2011-12, and 33 matches in the shortened season.