The Jets and restricted free agent center Mark Scheifele have agreed to terms on a max-term eight year, $49MM deal, the team announced Friday. The contract carries a cap hit of $6.125MM, making him the highest paid forward on the team and the second highest paid overall, behind defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. The deal will cover his four remaining RFA years as well as his first four UFA-eligible seasons. TSN’s Gary Lawless was first to report a deal was close and the exact terms of the contract.
Scheifele is coming off a career year in 2015-16. He recorded 29 goals and 32 assists in just 71 games, finishing second in team scoring behind only Blake Wheeler. Scheifele also logged 18:33 per game which was third highest among Winnipeg forwards.
In his career, Scheifele has played parts of five seasons all with the Jets who made him their first ever draft pick upon returning to Winnipeg (7th overall in 2011). In those 227 games, he has 58 goals and 87 assists while averaging 17:36 per game.
The 23 year old was coming off his entry level contract with Winnipeg and earned just $832K in the last two seasons. He also was not eligible for salary arbitration. He received a qualifying offer that was worth just over $874K last month.
This deal locks up one of Winnipeg’s two top six centers. Their other top six center, Bryan Little, has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $4.7MM.
With Scheifele signed, the Jets have five remaining restricted free agents to deal with. Most notably among those is defenseman Jacob Trouba. With this deal, Winnipeg has just shy of $10.5MM in cap space to re-sign those five, according to Cap Friendly.
The breakdown of the deal is as follows, per General Fanager:
Scheifele will also be able to block a trade to ten teams beginning in 2020.