The Winnipeg Jets have been relatively quiet this summer, though they have made a couple of solid additions out on the trade market. They still have plenty of in-house items to worry about, though, with multiple key players still holding restricted free agent status.
Among those free agents are forwards Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler, while defenseman Zach Bogosian is also an RFA. All three are set to take the Jets to arbitration if a deal cannot be reached. Between their big three of free agents, there isn’t really any doubt which should be the top priority to lock up.
All three are important to the success of the Jets, yes. And with all three in the mix, on top of what they already have in place and the additions that they have made, this is a team that could challenge for a playoff spot. But as far as true building blocks, Zach Bogosian is the guy they should focus on.
Bogosian really is the total package as a defenseman. With the uncertainty surrounding the future of Dustin Byfuglien in Winnipeg, as he could end up traded before his contract is up, Bogosian really is the future of the Winnipeg blue line. Offensive defenseman of his caliber are a premium in this league.
Bogosian finished only behind Byfuglien in time on ice per game for the Jets in 2013, averaging up over 23 minutes per game during the regular season. He finished with a decent output of 14 points in 33 games, logging minutes on both the power play and penalty kill, while also adding some physicality to the mix.
He still has a bit of a ways to go towards becoming the defenseman he could potentially become. He has elite upside, as a guy capable of playing strong defense in his own zone, while bring a strong ability to move the puck and pound the puck on net in the offensive zone. That’s a type of talent you want to keep in the mix for a long time, and Bogosian should be the top priority for the Jets in these contract talks.