Jets sign Hutchinson to two-year deal, enter season with competition in goal

Jared Clinton
(Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

For Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s, it appears the more netminders his team has to work with, the merrier.

The Jets announced Tuesday that they have signed Michael Hutchinson, 26, to a two-year deal worth $1.15 million per season. The contract comes as Hutchinson, who posted a 9-15-3 record, 2.84 goals against average and .907 save percentage in 2015-16, was set to become a restricted free agent. And though it signals the Jets getting another one of their assets under wraps, it doesn’t necessarily make a crowded crease any less so.

During the 2015-16 season, the Jets split their crease three ways. Ondrej Pavelec, 28, started 31 games, Connor Hellebuyck, 23, started 26 games and Hutchinson started the remaining 25 games. Whether Jets fans like it or not, it appears a similar three-headed monster will be between the pipes this coming season. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Tyson Barrie staying put in Colorado, GM Joe Sakic says

Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

In recent weeks, Colorado Avalanche restricted free agent defenseman Tyson Barrie was a hot topic in the trade rumor mill. But according to Avalanche GM Joe Sakic, the 24-year-old blueliner isn’t going anywhere.

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports Sakic said he’ll be meeting with Barrie’s agents during the upcoming NHL draft in hopes of working out a new long-term contract.

Sakic tells Chambers that if they cannot work out a new agreement, it’s expected Barrie will head to arbitration. “Either way, he’ll be here,” said the Avs GM.

It’s possible Sakic called his rival GMs to gauge their level of interest in Barrie and the type of return he might fetch. That could account for the recent speculation involving Barrie. Taking Sakic at his word, it’s evident the Avs wish to keep Barrie in the fold for at least the immediate future.

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European teams form alliance to get a seat at the table with the big boys

Sebastian Aho (left), Jesse Puljujariv (middle) and Patrik Laine (MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

When Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are drafted into the NHL a week from now, their teams in the Finnish Elite League will receive a one-time payment of about $240,000. Assuming each player earns $50 million over the course of his NHL career – which is probably being conservative – the amount their teams receive represents about one-half of one percent of their career earnings.

The teams that choose Laine and Puljujarvi – almost certainly the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets – stand to make millions in merchandising and ticket sales, particularly if each of them is a central figure in some long playoff runs. Meanwhile, the organizations that have basically developed these players from the time they were children, Tappara and Karpat, are receiving a pittance. That $240,000 is what Karpat will receive for losing Laine’s and Puljujarvi’s World Junior linemate Sebastian Aho to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week.

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Jets GM Cheveldayoff ‘not trying to trade’ defenseman Jacob Trouba

Jared Clinton
Jacob Trouba (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Winnipeg Jets enter the off-season in an interesting place.

After a post-season appearance in 2014-15, the Jets struggled in the tough Central Division in 2015-16 and wound up with the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft. But sometimes lost in the excitement surrounding the possibility of landing fantastic Finn Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi — or maybe even Auston Matthews if the Toronto Maple Leafs take a gamble with the first-overall pick — is that Winnipeg still has some housekeeping to take care of.

The Jets have a number of interesting restricted free agents to take care of this off-season, chief among which are center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba. It seems certain that Scheifele will end up landing a significant raise on a longer-term deal, but the same can’t be said for Trouba, which has led to rumors surrounding the 22-year-old blueliner. Trouba is seen as a rearguard who has huge potential that he’s yet to reach, and there has been rumors in the past that he could be looking for a contract that reflects his ceiling.

However, amidst the rumors, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wants to make one thing clear: he’s not looking to move Trouba out of Winnipeg. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins looking to improve defense through trades

Keith Yandle (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL draft and free agency fast approaching, speculation persists in the Boston media over what Bruins GM Don Sweeney will do to bolster his D-corps.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports free agency isn’t Sweeney’s preferred route this summer. However, he points out that puck-moving blueliners such as the New York Rangers’ Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars could be available if the Bruins GM opts to dive into the free-agent pool.

Haggerty also reports of trade rumors suggesting young defenders such as Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets, Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche and Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks could be available. However, he worries the Bruins could lack the resources to land one of them.

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Jesse Puljujarvi will not be quiet any longer

Finland's Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – The main attraction at today’s draft combine access was top-rated Auston Matthews, as it probably should be. But for the few reporters who went to Jesse Puljujarvi first, a new personality could be seen. Puljujarvi, it seems, won’t be taking a back seat to anyone for much longer.

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Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome forced to retire at 31 due to back injury

Jared Clinton
Grant Clitsome (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome last suited up on Jan. 3, 2015, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Little did he know it would be the last time ever that he would do so.

Following that contest, a 5-1 Jets victory in which Clitsome would skate 20-plus minutes, he would be forced to go under the knife for back surgery. He missed the final 43 regular season contests, all four playoff games and then was placed on the injured reserve before the 2015-16 season began. Clitsome didn’t play a single game this past season, and Tuesday, the 31-year-old rearguard officially announced his retirement.

“It is with great regret, that today I announce my retirement from hockey due to a back injury,” said Clitsome in a release. “It’s tough when something unexpected, and out of your control, suddenly ends your career. Despite the circumstances, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream and play in the NHL. I am also very grateful for all the great people that I have met, and all the friendships that I have made playing hockey.” Read more

Longtime Jets assistant Pascal Vincent named coach of the Manitoba Moose

Jared Clinton
Pascal Vincent (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Pascal Vincent has been a mainstay of the Jets since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta, and now the 44-year-old Quebec native is turning his assistant coaching gig with the Jets into a spot as the bench boss for the Manitoba Moose.

The Jets announced Friday that Vincent has been named the AHL club’s eighth coach and second since the club returned to Manitoba from Newfoundland.

The position with the Moose opened up following the somewhat surprising release of Keith McCambridge following this past season. McCambridge’s contract was up, and the Jets announced they would not be renewing McCambridge’s contract following the 2015-16 season. Manitoba finished with the third-worst record in the AHL in 2015-16, but also had one of the youngest and most inexperienced rosters in the league. That’s not to mention that McCambridge lost starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to the big club early in the campaign. Read more