It took a bit longer than everyone hoped for the two sides to find common ground, but the New Jersey Devils announced they have signed restricted free agent Jesper Bratt to a two-year, $5.5MM deal, with a $2.75 AAV. With the start of the season days away, Bratt will miss at least the first three games of the season as he now must apply for a work visa, travel from Sweden to New Jersey and then quarantine for seven days before he can join the team.
The breakdown of the deal is as follows (via Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta):
Bratt, 22, will still be a restricted free agent when this two-year deal expires, but the forward will then have arbitration rights, something he didn’t have here, which is what forced the holdout.
It’s a big signing for the Devils, who are putting together quite a bit of talent on their top-six. Bratt is a key piece to their youth movement. He put up solid numbers last year, scoring a career-high 16 goals and 32 points in 60 games and could be ready to take that next step. He led the team with 15 even-strength goals last season and didn’t spend much time on the power play, something that could change this year. Bratt was a sixth-round pick in 2016, but needed just one year before surprising many when he made the Devils’ roster for the 2017-18 season as a 19 year old, scoring 13 goals in his rookie campaign. His numbers dipped a bit in his sophomore year, but now is beginning to look like a key piece to the Devils’ rebuild.
With Bratt signed, there are only four remaining RFA’s unsigned, including Winnipeg’s Jack Roslovic, New York Islanders’ Dmytro Timashov and Florida’s duo of Henrik Borgstrom and Aleksi Saarela. The deadline for RFA’s to sign for this year is Feb. 11.
NHL beat writer Brennan Klak was the first to report the signing.