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Winnipeg signs RFA Postma to two-year deal

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Right-winger Austen Brassard was a key player for Belleville in OHL playoffs.

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Right-winger Austen Brassard was a key player for Belleville in OHL playoffs. Photo Store

DEFENCEMAN Paul Postma has a raise and a new two-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

The 24-year-old blue-liner, a restricted free agent after last season, headed off a salary arbitration hearing by agreeing to the deal that bumps him to $650,000 for the coming season, and $775,000 next season, according to a report.

Postma played last season on his first one-way deal, a $550,000 (pro-rated) contract for 2013.

Postma played 27 games to start the season in the AHL, recording 18 points for the St. John's IceCaps.

He then had 34 games, scoring four goals and nine points for the Jets, once the NHL season started.

The new deal was announced Thursday night.

 

Jets 'great fit' for Finn

 

CONFIDENCE is often an elusive quality, but Winnipeg Jets/St. John's IceCaps goalie Juho Olkinuora seems to have it in spades.

Since he was five, apparently.

That's when, according to the 22-year-old Finn, there was another boy in kindergarten with the same first name, so young Juho went home and told his parents he wanted another one.

For everyday purposes, they made a very common change to Jussi, which he's been known as since.

After conquering that conundrum at five, it wasn't very difficult for Olkinuora to know, at 22, it was time to turn pro.

His NCAA play was stellar and he left the University of Denver after two seasons, signing as a free agent with the Jets in the spring.

"I thought hockey-wise I'd be ready for it," Olkinuora said Thursday. "Obviously if things didn't work out...since I was a free agent, you have to grab the offer when it's there. First off, Winnipeg was a great fit. They were in touch with me the whole year and they seemed genuinely interested."

 

Better late than never

 

HE may have signed with the Jets at the very last minute in June -- another day without a contract would have sent him back into this year's draft -- but right-winger Austen Brassard said Thursday there was no stress about the decision.

In many ways, the Windsor, Ont., product said, the timetable was a product of his Belleville Bulls getting to the third round of the OHL playoffs.

"I tried not to think about it too much," Brassard said about the contract. "We went deep into the playoffs with Belleville and I was trying to focus on that. I just wanted to keep doing what I was doing, not think about it too much. You can start overthinking things and it'll affect your game."

Brassard's numbers during the regular season waned from 2011-12, down to 14 goals and 33 points, but he was an important player for the Bulls in the playoffs, recording six goals and 12 points in 17 games.

"Years before, we didn't even make it out of the first round so to go to the conference final was a pretty big deal," he said. "But you're never satisfied until you're holding up that Memorial Cup. Personally, I thought I played pretty well."

Now in July, the 6-2 20-year-old said he's just happy to be getting his pro career underway.

"No matter what I want to keep working and get better," he said. "I'm just really grateful and happy that I was able to sign with Winnipeg. When someone drafts you it's a big pat on the back. I wanted to be the best I could be for Winnipeg. I'm glad everything worked out."

 

Camp wraps today

 

AT today's final day of the development camp, the 42 players will take the ice together at 10:45 a.m. and work in a controlled-scrimmage environment.

"We'll get a little bit better chance tomorrow to take a look at three-on-three and a little bit more of the thinking side of the game," Jets coach Claude Noel said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 C4

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