June 6, 2020

Winnipeg
5° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Jets ink blue-chip blue-liner Morrissey to eight-year, $50M extension

Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)</p>

Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/9/2019 (267 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Josh Morrissey couldn't see himself playing anywhere else. And now the Winnipeg Jets have made sure that won't happen, locking up their top-pairing defenceman with an eight-year, $50-million extension.

The deal, announced Thursday will, beginning next season, pay Morrissey an average of $6.25 million annually through the 2027-28 campaign.

"There is always going to be a right fit for each guy. For me, obviously, I felt like it was a great fit. I love playing here. The term excited me. The fact that I get to have that stability, but to be here and playing in Winnipeg, from Day 1, it’s what I’ve always said that I wanted to do. To have that and the way it worked out, I’m really excited," Morrissey told reporters at Bell MTS Iceplex.

The 24-year-old from Calgary, taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, would have become a restricted free agent next July at the conclusion of his current two-year bridge deal, worth $3.15 million annually.

Morrissey is coming off a career-best 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) despite only playing 59 regular-season games last year due to a shoulder injury. He averaged a career-high 22:24 minutes per game and was expected to cash in, as he takes on an even bigger role this season after the departures of Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot.

Trouba, his former partner on the Jets' top defensive pairing, just signed a long-term deal with the New York Rangers that will pay him $8 million a year.

But Morrissey and the Jets opted not to play the waiting game; the club and his agent began talking about a lengthy extension in June at the NHL Draft in Vancouver. The talks heated up over the past couple of weeks.

"Obviously, when you get into that last year before your deal is up, there is always potential to sign an extension. We had kind of talked through the summer and for both sides, if we were able to do something before camp or before the season started, we would look at that. But during the year, you want to be focusing on playing," Morrissey said.

"So, I’m really happy we were able to get to a point and get the deal done."

Although the annual average value stays the same each year, Morrissey will earn $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the contract. He gets $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons.

Josh Morrissey's considered the pillar of the Winnipeg defence corps along with veteran Dustin Byfuglien. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Free Press files)</p>

Josh Morrissey's considered the pillar of the Winnipeg defence corps along with veteran Dustin Byfuglien. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Free Press files)

At first blush, it seems like a win for both sides. Morrissey gets a sizable, well-deserved pay hike and the long-term security that is clearly important to him with an organization he loves. And the feeling is mutual for the Jets, as they get their No. 1 guy locked up with a cap hit that won't exactly break the budget.

It's quite a change from a year ago, when he missed the first few days of training camp while contract talks continued.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Morrissey's situation was both unique and important.

"Obviously, lots of moving parts this summer with a lot of different things, like any summer. Josh was a big piece," said Cheveldayoff, who still does not have Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor under contract; the Jets open camp Friday.

"For us, this goes back to this time last year. We had, at that point in time, really expressed our desire to want to a long-term deal with Josh, but given our cap situation, he was able to see at that point we were only able to do a bridge to keep the group together and try to take a kick at the can last year with what we had.

"At that time we told him, we said, ‘It is our firm belief that we want to make you a long-term Jet and when we get that opportunity, we’re going to work hard at doing it."

Coach Paul Maurice will likely lean on Morrissey plenty this year, along with returning veteran Dustin Byfuglien. Other blue-liners in the mix include Dmitry Kulikov, newcomer Nathan Pionk, Nathan Beaulieu, Sami Niku, Tucker Poolman and Anthony Bitetto.

At six feet, 195 pounds, Morrissey is above average at everything he does on the ice; he's an excellent defender and penalty-killer, can move the puck effectively and help drive the offence — including on the power play — and is a fearless shot-blocker with a physical edge.

There are also obvious leadership qualities likely to land a letter on his chest before long. Cheveldayoff spent nearly as much time Thursday talking about the person as he did on the player.

"The Josh Morrissey off the ice is just a top-, top-notch person, always willing to give back to the community, always willing to do things for others on his team. We’re really, really excited to be able to announce this and have him as a long-term Jet," said Cheveldayoff.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 4:31 PM CDT: Writethru.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us