The Winnipeg Jets certainly have their work cut out for them as the offseason gets underway. They have three key free agents to deal with, in addition to one that is likely going to demand a trade (Alex Burmistrov). Luckily, the big free agents they need to deal with are of the restricted variety, and talks with two of them have begun.
Each of their three main restricted free agents are due pretty significant raises this summer, Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian in particular. Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Jets front office have already begun talks with the top line center and their workhorse defenseman.
Had the 2013 season been a full year, we very well may have seen Little reach new heights as far as his point totals are concerned. He finished with 32 points on the year, including 25 assists, just five short of his career mark. One could argue that the Jets’ top line was one of the league’s best this season.
Little also won over half of his draws, while proving to be a key player both on the power play and the penalty kill. As a restricted free agent this summer, He’s likely headed for a sizable raise from a contract that pays him a touch over $2.3 million.
The same can be said of Bogosian, who made just a hair more than Little in 2013. He’s coming off of a two-year deal that came with a $2.5 million cap hit. He’ll also be looking for a raise, coming off of a season in which he was second on the team in ice time overall, while proving a key defensive presence on both special teams.
Winnipeg will likely also begin talks with their third key free agent, Blake Wheeler in the next few days. The goal is to hammer out deals for their “big three” before July 5th rolls around and teams can send them offer sheets. Each of them represents a key player to the future of the Jets, though, so you can bet that they’re going to be up for trying to match offer sheets, if it does reach that point.