Winnipeg Jets fans can breathe, the Jets have signed young defenseman Josh Morrissey to a two-year bridge deal worth $6.3million ($3.15million AAV). The 23-year-old was the last man left without a contract and was not attending camp due to his contract dispute.
The Winnipeg Jets initially drafted Morrissey 13th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. After playing most of the 2015-16 season in the AHL and only one NHL game, Morrissey made the Jets roster full-time in 2016-17. Since entering the league, he has averaged nearly 20 minutes of ice-time per game over both seasons. In these past two seasons, Morrissey has scored 20 points in 82 games and 26 points in 81 games, respectively.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED! 🎉#NHLJets have agreed to terms with defenceman Josh Morrissey on a two-year contract worth $6.3 million ($3.15 million AAV).— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) September 16, 2018
DETAILS ➡️ https://t.co/vceOUXOTR5 pic.twitter.com/aSV2vLbTS0
If he can continue down his development, it may help the Jets make it past the Western Conference Final seeing as they rely on him heavily as the only left-handed defenseman in their top-four. Last season, he averaged 20:27 of time-on-ice per game, putting him fourth for defensemen on the Jets roster. Morrissey is also the smallest defenseman on a blueline that includes the likes of; Tyler Myers at 6'8 and 229 lbs, Jacob Trouba at 6'3 and 202 lbs and Dustin Byfuglien at 6'5 and 260 lbs. At 6'0 and 195 lbs, Morrissey plays a unique role in comparison to his counterparts.
After a busy summer that saw them have to lock-up goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, defenseman Jacob Trouba, and sign captain Blake Wheeler to an extension, they were finally able to ink Josh Morrissey. Now that the Jets have Morrissey signed to a short-term bridge deal, it gives them roster and cap flexibility to allow them to make a deadline acquisition in preparation for their Stanley Cup run. Also, with Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers among others who need contracts this upcoming off-season, that flexibility will be very helpful if their cap or roster situation changes.
For a defenseman with solid point production and a heavy workload, a two-year bridge deal at only $3.15million AAV seems about right. Especially when considering some of the other young defensemen around the league who have received similar contracts. It also gives Morrissey the option to demand more money in two years, if he progresses. Until then, Jets fans can sleep well knowing that Morrissey will be suited up opening night.