The RFA shoe everyone expected to drop has finally done so. Today, the Winnipeg Jets announced they had agreed to terms with centre Mark Scheifele, to the tune of eight years and an average annual value of $6.125 million.
The 23-year-old is coming off a 2015-16 in which he posted 29 goals and 61 points in 71 GP, while being a possession positive player regardless of line combination. Since being drafted 7th overall in 2011, Scheifele has scored 145 points in 227 regular season games, showing continuous growth year after year. With this deal, Winnipeg locks in a player who is at worst an excellent 2C, and may be blossoming into a solid 1C option.
Scheifele's eight-year, $6.125 mil AAV deal will be compared to the seven-year, $6.3 mil AAV contract signed by Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, especially given how they were announced within minutes of one another. Though not all centremen, here are a few other recent comparables:
- Vincent Trocheck, age 22, six-years, $4.75 mil AAV
- Aleksander Barkov, age 20, six-years, $5.9 mil AAV
- Brandon Saad, then-age 22, six-years, $6.0 mil AAV
- Filip Forsberg, age-21, six-years, $6.0 mil AAV
Trocheck is coming off one good year, and expectations are lower for the 2011 3rd rounder. On the other hand, Barkov is rather well-regarded, but the Panthers' extension bought two fewer years than Winnipeg did with Scheifele. A similar argument regarding years can be made for both the Saad and Forsberg contracts as well. Long story short, the asking price for a forward of Scheifele's talent and pedigree coming off their ELC was always going to be around the six million dollar range. Considering the Jets bought two extra years of service compared to the above deals, his slight premium of 125,000k seems a good bargain.
With Mark Scheifele and Nathan MacKinnon now locked up, it'll be interesting to see what the terms for another comparable in Flames RFA Sean Monahan end up being. Speaking of restricted free agents still in need of a contract, perhaps Chevy's gazy will now fully shift to a certain unsigned defenceman. But for the moment, let's enjoy having Fefe signed for eight more years.
"Signing this deal does nothing. It's on the ice what matters. My goal is to be one of the elite players this league." -Mark Scheifele— M Remis (@mremis) July 8, 2016
What say you on the Scheifele contract? Is his play on the ice already worth the $6.125 mil AAV? Does this level of long-term commitment sway what letter you'd like to see him wear? And how safe do you feel buying a Mark Scheifele sweater? Share your thoughts, questions and concerns in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!