The Winnipeg Jets have signed another young restricted free agent, agreeing to a one-year, two-way contract with J.C. Lipon for the 2017-18 season. The contract will pay Lipon the minimum $650K while in the NHL. Lipon was eligible for salary arbitration this season, but decided not to file for it.
Lipon, 24, spent the entire season in the AHL last year and registered 30 points in 71 games. A third-round selection in 2013, Lipon has always had a physical aspect to his game but also has shown the ability to produce offensively. Last year some of that playmaking ability disappeared and it resulted in him not earning a single game in the NHL. If he’s to make an impact at the next level it will have to come soon, as next year he will likely be eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency and could slip out of any future plans.
This signing leaves the Jets with just Connor Hellebuyck to sign, and Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun believes a bridge deal will come down for the goaltender before his arbitration hearing on August 1st. The team has plenty of cap space, but after signing Steve Mason for $4.1MM per season it’s clear they need more from Hellebuyck before committing to him as the answer in net long-term.