The Winnipeg Jets have avoided arbitration with forward Adam Lowry, signing him to a three-year $8.75MM contract. Lowry was scheduled to have his arbitration hearing on Sunday July 22nd, but will no longer be on the docket. This deal will carry him right through to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021.
Lowry, 25, played just 45 games this season for the Jets but put up the best offensive pace of his young career. With 21 points in that shortened season, he was an effective bottom-six player for a club that has one of the deepest forward groups in the NHL. Unfortunately that point production dried up in the postseason when Lowry was held to just two assists in 17 games, but with the departure of Paul Stastny in free agency he was a must-sign to keep the Jets strong down the middle. The team will likely use Lowry once again in a third-line center role, where his size and physicality can continue to punish defenders and opposing forwards.
Earning just under $3MM, Lowry now becomes a potential bargain for the Jets if he can continue to contribute offensively. The team has plenty of other restricted free agents looking for big pay days—including Jacob Trouba who will argue his $7MM arbitration ask tomorrow—and it looked like they may be in trouble financially. With Stastny heading for Vegas and no other significant additions the team may be able to fit everyone in. Lowry’s contract was a big part of that, as giving him any more term would have forced the cap hit even higher and left the team in a crunch. Three years makes it easy to swallow, but also sets him up to hit the unrestricted free agent market as a prime target.
If Lowry can continue his steady progression and put up 30-40 points for the next few seasons, he could easily get a big raise in 2021 as a 28-year old center. It looks like he’ll get plenty of opportunity over the next three years to show he can be a playoff performer, as the Jets are set up to be one of the most competitive teams in the league for some time. With the emergence of other young talents like Jack Roslovic, Lowry may even get more skill on his wings and a chance to really break out. For now though, expect him to just be a valuable penalty killer and versatile option for the Jets.