(UPDATE: Nurse has signed a two-year deal with the Oilers.)
One of the notable restricted free agents left to sign is now off that list.
The Winnipeg Jets got great value on Sunday, signing one of the league’s more underrated defenseman in Josh Morrissey to a two-year bridge deal with a $3.15 million annual value.
The signing ended a stalemate between both the club and Morrissey’s camp that surprisingly crept into training camp. Morrissey missed the first three days as preseason proceedings got underway in Winnipeg on Friday.
It’s likely the Jets were trying to get Morrissey to sign a long-term deal with the club at a cap-friendly price given the Jets are dangerously close to the $79.5 million ceiling.
Instead, Morrissey will bet on himself and the chance to get a big payday in 2020 when he will become an RFA once again, and the Jets will enjoy two more seasons of the 23-year-old at a bargain price. With the future of Jacob Trouba up in the air and with Dustin Byfuglien set to become an unrestricted free agent a after the 2020-21 season, Morrissey could be in line for a long-term deal worth more than double what he is making now.
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In the interim, the deal solidifies Winnipeg’s top pairing with Morrissey and Trouba in a big year for the Jets, who got to the Western Conference Final last season on the back of a 52-win, 114-point regular season.
With Morrissey’s deal done, it will be interesting to see if the ball gets rolling in Edmonton with another high-profile RFA in defenseman in Darnell Nurse.
With the news of Andrej Sekera being out indefinitely with a torn Achilles‘, it’s somewhat shocking that the Oilers haven’t got Nurse under contract given their thin depth on defense.
Talks there seem to be at an impasse with Nurse reportedly wanting $4 million. Perhaps Morrissey’s signing can kickstart negotiations again now that there’s a benchmark in place.
Toronto’s William Nylander also is in need of a new contract although, like Nurse, talks between general manager Kyle Dubas and the young Swede seem to be at a standstill.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck