The Winnipeg Jets took the time the pandemic-induced 2019-20 season pause afforded them Tuesday to sign two players to entry-level contracts.
Although both Kristian Reichel and Arvid Holm were already with the organization, neither are household names. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Reichel Earned Jets’ Contract with Strong Moose Campaign
Reichel’s contract — a two-year, two-way deal worth an average annual value of $752,000 — is testament that hard work can pay off.
The undrafted winger originally signed with the Moose as a free agent prior to the 2018-19 season after a 57-point season with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.
This season, the 22-year-old as an extra player who jumped in and out of the lineup, but his role and production ramped up as the campaign went along. The Czech Republic native recorded 12 goals — including five goals in his final six games — and five assists for 17 points in 39 games. He was playing on the Moose’s top line with fellow Europeans David Gustafsson and Kristian Vesalainen when the AHL season suddenly stopped and was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19.
The son of long-time NHLer Robert Reichel — who recorded 630 points in 830 games with the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs — the young Reichel is a consistent player, strong passer, and accurate shooter: he scored his 12 AHL goals this season on just 61 shots, a shooting percentage of 19.7.
Holm Turned Heads in SHL Crease
Holm, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound Swedish goaltender, spent his 2019-20 season with the Swedish Hockey League’s Farjestads BK Karlstad.
The 21-year-old Swede — originally selected by the Jets 167th overall in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — posted a 20-10-0 record, a 2.27 Goals Against Average, a .915 Save Percentage, and one shutout in 31 games.
“At 6-foot-4, Holm has tremendous size and stands tall in his crease, challenging opposing shooters,” writes Dobber Prospects’ Jamie Zadow.
Zadow notes Holm — who is the fifth goaltender in the Jets’ organization in addition to Mikhail Berdin, Eric Comrie, Laurent Brossoit, and of course, Connor Hellebuyck — will likely stay in the SHL next season. His contract is for three years and carries an AAV of $873,333.00.
Reichel, Holm Part of Jets’ Future, but 2020-21 AHL Season Isn’t a Guarantee
While we won’t see Reichel or Holm on the Jets come July if the NHL’s 24–team return-to-play playoff plans come to fruition, signing their first big-league deals represents a major milestone in these young players’ careers and will the Jets more depth in the future.
The AHL, which unlike the NHL, is a gate-driven league that cannot afford to play in empty arenas in hub cities, has recently established a Return to Play task force that will provide leadership and guidance to the league as it tries to get the 2020-21 season going. Jets’ chairman and governor Mark Chipman is part of that 13-person force.
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