Jets ink blue-chip defenceman Morrissey to eight-year, $50M extension

Josh Morrissey has been signed to a long-term contract extension, ensuring there will be no standoffs between the Winnipeg Jets and their most prized young defenceman.

While the NHL club looks to begin training camp without talented scorers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, the Jets came to terms with the 24-year-old top-pairing blue-liner on a rather team-friendly eight-year contract extension worth $50 million — carrying an average annual value of $6.25 million through the 2027-28 season.

He’s considered the pillar of the Winnipeg defence corps along with veteran Dustin Byfuglien, after the trade of Jacob Trouba and the departures of Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot to free agency. And head coach Paul Maurice will need to lean on Morrissey heavily, with a rebuilt blue line that includes Neal Pionk, Dmitry Kulikov Nathan Beaulieu and youngsters such as Tucker Poolman, Sami Niku, Logan Stanley and veteran newcomer Anthony Bitetto fighting for spots.

The Calgary native still has a year left on two-year $6.3-million bridge deal he signed last fall after missing medicals and the first three days of training camp. He would have become a restricted free agent next July 1.

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Josh Morrissey has been signed to a long-term contract extension, ensuring there will be no standoffs between the Winnipeg Jets and their most prized young defenceman.

While the NHL club looks to begin training camp without talented scorers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, the Jets came to terms with the 24-year-old top-pairing blue-liner on a rather team-friendly eight-year contract extension worth $50 million — carrying an average annual value of $6.25 million through the 2027-28 season.

He’s considered the pillar of the Winnipeg defence corps along with veteran Dustin Byfuglien, after the trade of Jacob Trouba and the departures of Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot to free agency. And head coach Paul Maurice will need to lean on Morrissey heavily, with a rebuilt blue line that includes Neal Pionk, Dmitry Kulikov Nathan Beaulieu and youngsters such as Tucker Poolman, Sami Niku, Logan Stanley and veteran newcomer Anthony Bitetto fighting for spots.

The Calgary native still has a year left on two-year $6.3-million bridge deal he signed last fall after missing medicals and the first three days of training camp. He would have become a restricted free agent next July 1.

Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons.

Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)</p>
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Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

Morrissey is coming off a solid injury-disrupted season, posting six goals along with 25 assists for a career-high 31 points in just 59 games. He averaged 22:24 of ice time on a defensive tandem with the now-departed Trouba.

Listed at six feet, 195 pounds, Morrissey is an excellent defender, can move the puck effectively and doesn’t shy away from blocking shots. He might not have a letter on his chest, but he’s a leader by example on the ice and speaks from the heart when questioned after big wins and crushing defeats.

Morrissey was selected 13th overall by the Jets in the 2013 NHL Draft after a brilliant junior career with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. After suiting up for one game during the 2015-16 campaign, he debuted as a rookie the following season and has played 223 games, with 19 goals and 77 points.

The Jets are scheduled for on-ice fitness testing today and regular training camp kicks off Friday with ice times at 9 a.m. and noon.

There’s no indication either Connor or Laine, both RFAs, will join their teammates at the Iceplex. The two skilled wingers are coming off entry-level deals.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

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