ON the last day they could, the Winnipeg Jets agreed to contract terms with 20-year-old forward Austen Brassard on Saturday.
Had Brassard not signed by 4 p.m., the Jets would no longer have had his rights and the gritty Belleville Bulls forward would be draft eligible for later this month in New Jersey.
Teams have two years to get draft picks under contract if they were playing junior hockey.
Brassard was part of the Jets' first draft class after the move to Winnipeg, taken in the fifth round of 2011 in Minnesota.
The Windsor, Ont., native is coming off a year of 14 goals and 33 points for the OHL's Bulls, largely in a defensive role. His team made it to the league's Eastern Conference final before losing in seven games to the Barrie Colts. Brassard had 12 more points in the playoffs, up against another Jets' prospect in his team's final series, Mark Scheifele.
Winnipeg other 2011 draft pick that faced Saturday's deadline of sorts was defenceman Zach Yuen of the Tri-City Americans, a fourth-rounder that year.
The Jets either decided not to sign Yuen, or the sides couldn't agree to a contract. Either way, Yuen will be eligible for the June 30 draft.