Cashing in: Jets sign Scheifele to eight-year, $49M contract extension

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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.”