Within the span of two days the Winnipeg Jets resolved their restricted free agent issues and will enter the 2019-20 NHL season with a complete roster.
Kyle Connor agreed to a seven-year, $50 million contract on Saturday evening, only a few hours after Mikko Rantanen and the Colorado Avalanche ended their standoff. The deal, which carries a $7.14 million and change AAV, features a 10-team no-trade clause in the final two years of Connor’s deal, per Craig Custance.
Connor, 22, was never going to take a bridge deal like Patrik Laine agreed to on Friday as a long-term deal was always his aim. Following a pair of 30-plus goal seasons he cashes in with a contract that will take him to age 29.
Suddenly, what was looking like a potentially dreary beginning for the season for the Jets has brightened a little bit. There’s still plenty to improve upon from last season for Paul Maurice’s charges, but having two of their better offensive weapons under contract and in the lineup when they kick things off Thursday night in New York City against the Rangers is a good way to start.
Per Cap Friendly, the Jets now have $7.7 million of cap space following the Connor and Laine deals. There’s still the unresolved future of Dustin Byfuglien, who carries a $7.6 million cap hit. That would make things very interesting for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff should Big Buff decide to play.
Who would have guessed with all the big name RFAs this summer that Jesse Puljujarvi, who’s likely to spend the season in Finland, and Julius Honka would be the last notable ones standing? The Dallas Stars defensemen is awaiting a trade out of town after the player and then team same to the conclusion it would be the best for both sides. That was two weeks ago and there’s still no resolution in sight with the season days away.
MORE RFA COVERAGE:
• Avs avoid breaking the bank with Rantanen’s six-year deal
• Examining Avs’ salary cap, Stanley cup window after signing Rantanen
• Jets come to short agreement with Patrik Laine
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.