Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

8 pending restricted free agents are eligible for the Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets have qualified eight pending restricted free agents.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pierre Luc Dubois was one of eight restricted free agents to receive a qualifying offer from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
  • Both defenseman Markus Phillips and winger Evgeny Svechnikov are unrestricted free agents after the Jets elected not to qualify them for the team.
  • Winnipeg acquired Appleton back from Seattle just before the NHL trade deadline on March 21 in return for a 2023 fourth-round pick.

The Winnipeg Jets made a qualifying offer to eight restricted free agents on Monday, including Pierre Luc Dubois.

The forwards Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, Kristian Vesalainen, David Gustafsson, and Jeff Malott, who spent most of the previous season with the AHL Manitoba Moose, were the other pending RFAs on that list.

The list is completed by defensemen Johnathan Kovacevic and Leon Gawanke, who played regularly for the Moose.

Since the Jets decided not to qualify either player, forward Evgeny Svechnikov and defenseman Markus Phillips nowadays are unrestricted free agents. During the 2021–22 NHL season, Svechnikov participated in a career-high 72 games for Winnipeg, recording seven goals, 12 assists, and 19 points while averaging 10:45 TOI (time on ice).

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The Jets can match any offer sheet made to any of those eight players by a rival team by submitting qualifying bids, provided that the player has not accepted the offer by Wednesday, July 13 at 11 a.m. CT. 

Rarely does that occur, and the Jets, anticipating paying Dubois US$6 million if he chooses Winnipeg’s qualifying offer, would almost certainly match any offer sheet the player signs. He can potentially decline that proposal and carry on with the talks for a new agreement.

According to reports from the Jets, Dubois is expected to test the market after the 2023–24 NHL season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Kevin Cheveldayoff, general manager of Winnipeg, has not stated whether he plans to move Dubois; he has just stated that his objective is to eventually sign the 24-year-old center to a long-term contract.

This past season, Dubois scored a career-high 28 goals, and his 60 points left him just one point short of his previous highest single-year point total, which he recorded at the age of 20 in 2018–19, although still with Columbus when he had 27–34–61.

The Winnipeg Jets have qualified eight pending restricted free agents.
The Winnipeg Jets have qualified eight pending restricted free agents. Image from Global News

Just before the NHL trading deadline on March 21, Winnipeg received Appleton back from Seattle in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round selection pick. The right-winger, 26, who was selected by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2015 draught, had two goals and four assists in 19 games for Winnipeg after the trade. The resident of Green Bay, Wisconsin, received US$900,000 for his remaining contract.

In his first full NHL season, Harkins, who received a base salary of US$750,000 in 2021–22, recorded 7–6–13 points in 77 games.

24th overall in the 2017 first round, the Jets selected Vesalainen. In 52 games with the AHL Manitoba Moose, the 6-3, 207-pound left-winger concluded the 2021–22 season with two goals. 

The 23-year-old native of Helsinki has a one-year contract with Malmo of the Swedish League. Still, the Jets will be able to keep him if Vesalainen decides to play again in North America by submitting a qualifying offer.

Source: CTV News

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