Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets' pick Ehlers signed and sealed, hopefully delivers

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THE Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with 2014 first-round draft pick Nikolaj Ehlers.

As a first-year forward in the QMJHL in 2013-14, Ehlers put up 49 goals and 55 assists in 63 regular-season games for the Halifax Mooseheads. He added 28 points in 16 playoff games and then received numerous post-season awards.

Those included: league rookie of the year, offensive rookie of the year, best professional prospect, a spot on the QMJHL's all-rookie team, a spot on the QMJHL second all-star team and BMO CHL rookie of the year.

The left-winger was chosen ninth overall by the Jets at the entry draft in Philadelphia in June.

Ehlers' deal is a two-way contract for a duration of three years -- what's prescribed by the collective bargaining agreement. It's average value over the three years is $1.625 million per season, which includes games-played and other performance bonuses strictly regulated by the CBA.

The maximum entry-level salary is $925,000. A signing bonus can be a maximum of 10 per cent.

A games-played bonus is allowed and other than that, only bonuses set out in the CBA -- for example, a bonus is allowed for points in a regular season so long as there's a minimum of 60 -- are permitted, and those performance bonuses may not exceed $850,000 in any one season.

Ehlers' eventual cap hit could well be lower than the $1.625 million announced, depending on how many of his bonus clauses kick in.

His contract may also be kicked down the road a year or two if he does not play 10 games in the NHL in a season and is sent back to junior.

Such was the case twice with 2011 first-rounder Mark Scheifele.

Among the top 10 picks at this year's draft, Ehlers is the seventh player to agree to a contract with his team.

Only first-overall pick Aaron Eklbad of the Panthers, fifth-overall pick Michael Dal Colle of the Islanders and Nick Ritchie of the Ducks (10th overall) have not yet signed deals.

Ehlers, 18, was born in Aalborg, Denmark and played in Switzerland before coming to the QMJHL last season.

He is expected to be in the lineup for the Jets when the team participates in the Young Stars Classic rookie and prospects tournament starting Sept. 12 in Penticton, B.C.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 3, 2014 0

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