Cam Tucker

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele celebrates after scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs during first-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)
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Cashing in: Jets sign Scheifele to eight-year, $49M contract extension


Mark Scheifele has cashed in on his 29-goal, 61-point season.

On Friday, the Winnipeg Jets announced they had re-signed the 23-year-old center to an eight-year contract extension worth a total value of $49 million — a $6.125 million AAV. That’s a significant raise from the $1.563 million AAV he was earning in his entry-level contract, which expired at the end of this season, making him a restricted free agent.

In his first two full seasons in Winnipeg, Scheifele had promising goal and point totals, but his overall production increased this season.

He led the Jets with 1.05 goals per 60 minutes at even strength and 2.51 points per 60 minutes, to go along with solid puck possession numbers as well.

The Jets are an interesting team. They no longer have Andrew Ladd, who was traded to Chicago before the deadline and then signed as a free agent with the Islanders.

But, in addition to veterans like Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault (read about his contract extension), the Jets have some intriguing young players — Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor and the No. 2 overall pick Patrik Laine to name a few — on their team or in their system.

Scheifele, taken seventh overall by the Jets in 2011, is the cornerstone.

“That was a big determining factor in Dustin signing and vice-versa here today,” said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, as per the club’s website.

“I remember when I sat down with Buff when we were getting close and I looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘Why do you want to sign?’ He talked about the youth, players like Mark, other young guys we have in the organization and understanding that it takes time to build a championship team.”

Jets re-sign d-man Kichton, who led the AHL Moose in points last season

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After another productive season in the American Hockey League, defenseman Brenden Kichton has re-signed with the Winnipeg Jets to a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level.

Drafted twice — in the fifth round by the New York Islanders in 2011 and again in the seventh round by the Jets two years later — Kichton led the AHL’s Manitoba Moose in points this past season with 41 (11 goals, 30 assists) in 68 games played.

With lofty numbers for a blue liner in junior, it’s the second time in three seasons in the minors that he’s broken the 40-point mark for the Jets’ affiliate.

It’s a depth move for the Jets, who also have 2013 first-round pick and prospect blue liner Josh Morrissey in their system.

Meanwhile for the Jets, there is still the matter of restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba.

He remains unsigned for now, with speculation percolating toward the end of last month that perhaps the Boston Bruins were contemplating an offer sheet for the 22-year-old right shooting defenseman.

Capitals cap crunch with Johansson, Orlov left to re-sign

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals looks on  during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on January 5, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals have, according to General Fanager, about $8 million in cap space with two key components of their team left to get under contract this summer.

Marcus Johansson, the 25-year-old forward, had 17 goals and 46 points last season and is at the end of his one-year, $3.75 million deal awarded to him following an arbitration hearing last summer. He’s a restricted free agent one, as is 24-year-old defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who had a two-year, $4 million deal.

With those two left to sign, there is a balancing act to the budget, as outlined below.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

If Johansson gets an average annual salary of $4.5 million, that would leave the Caps with $3.5 million in cap space.  

Orlov, 24, is coming off a two-year, $4 million contract, on in which he made $1.75 million without playing a single NHL game and $2.25 million for playing in all 82 games last season and finishing tied for first among Caps defensemen in goals (8) and third in points (29). Since MacLellan said he should have enough left-over money to sign a player at the NHL minimum of $575,000, the Caps are likely budgeting no more than between $2.9 million to re-sign Orlov.

Johansson’s price, however, is one general manager Brian MacLellan has already expressed concern about when it comes to possible comparables.

The Capitals haven’t been completely quiet during the opening of the free agent period. They did sign forward Brett Connolly to one year at a price of $850,000.

It’s a move that adds depth up front. But it’s hardly a splash. The Capitals have their priorities elsewhere.

“I mean, we’re playing in a different market, trying to find a guy in a certain salary range that might have some upside and become a good player for us,” said MacLellan, as per the Washington Post.

PHT Morning Skate: A look back at the record-breaking NHL Draft for USA Hockey

Pavel Zacha, Auston Matthews
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Happy Fourth of July!

— The 2016 NHL Draft was a memorable one for USA Hockey, which saw a record 12 American-born players selected in the first round. It started with Auston Matthews going No. 1 overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs and ended with Trent Frederic going 29th overall to the Boston Bruins. A total of 55 American players were selected in last month’s draft.

— Membership — including players, coaches and officials — with USA Hockey grew in 2015-16, with 622,833 total members compared to 611,926 in 2014-15. (USA Hockey)

— Former Oilers tough guy George Laraque weighs in on newly signed Milan Lucic wearing No. 27. Ouch!

— Speculation on who could be the first GM of the Las Vegas NHL franchise. (Puck Daddy)

— The structure of three contracts that points to another lockout, according to Larry Brooks. (New York Post)

— Why the Stars’ goalie tandem and carrying eight defensemen aren’t great ideas. (Dallas Morning News)

— Vancouver Island-based NHL players present group of minor hockey players with new equipment, registration fees. (Victoria Times Colonist)

Stars add journeyman forward Adam Cracknell in free agency

Vancouver Canucks' Adam Cracknell celebrates what would have been his second goal before it was turned over upon review, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP Photo

DALLAS (AP) The Stars have signed free agent Adam Cracknell to a one-year contract, making Dallas the journeyman forward’s fifth team in four seasons.

The 30-year-old Cracknell split last season between Vancouver and Edmonton, appearing in 48 games combined. All of his career-high 10 points (five goals, five assists) came with the Canucks.

Cracknell, who plays right wing, has 134 career games in six seasons, the first four with St. Louis. He’s also played for Columbus. He has 27 career points (11 goals, 16 assists).

A ninth-round pick by Calgary in 2004, Cracknell also has 415 career games with four franchises in the American Hockey League.

The Stars lost veteran forward Vernon Fiddler to New Jersey in free agency. Fiddler played in all 82 games last season.