By Scott Billeck
The Winnipeg Jets have re-signed restricted free agent centerman Bryan Little to a five-year, $23.5 million dollar contract on Monday, and now leaves just Zach Bogosian and Blake Wheeler to be re-signed before their arbitration hearings.
Little, 25, played in 48 games with the Winnipeg Jets during the 2012-13 season. In that time, the right-handed centre recorded 32 points (7G, 25A) and four penalty minutes. He sat second on the club’s leaderboard in assists and fourth among his team in scoring. The Edmonton, AB native has played in 404 career NHL games between Atlanta and Winnipeg for 227 career points (99G, 128A) and 125 penalty minutes.
“I was pretty confident it would get done before arbritration,” said Little. “We were really hoping it wouldn’t get to that point.
“It was something we talked about right away, I wanted to stay in Winnipeg. It was something I wanted to be a part of still, it wasn’t really that hard for me to make this decision.”
He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft.
The Winnipeg Jets also inked forward Anthony Peluso to a deal Monday. The former St. Louis Blues draft pick signed a two-year, $1.125 million deal.
Peluso, 24, was claimed off waivers by the Winnipeg Jets on January 6, 2012. Before suffering a season ending injury, Peluso made his NHL debut by playing five games with the Jets for two assists and 14 penalty minutes.
The North York, ON native played in 181 career American Hockey League games with Peoria for 29 career points (15G, 14A) and 376 career penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the sixth round, 160th overall, in the 2007 NHL Draft.
The Winnipeg Jets will also be sending a few of their players to the the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Andrew Ladd will represent the Jets as the lone Canadian from their roster in Canada National Men’s Team Orientation Camp from August 25-28 in Calgary.
Ladd, 27, played in 48 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In that time, the Maple Ridge, BC native recorded 46 points (18G, 28A) and 22 penalty minutes. He led the Jets in points, assists and was tied for the lead in plus/minus.
Ladd has played in 532 career NHL games between Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 304 career points (138G, 166A) and 305 penalty minutes. Ladd has won the Stanley Cup twice in his career, winning his first as a rookie with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 when he scored five points (2g, 3a) in 17 playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup again with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, recording six points (3g, 3a) in 19 playoff games.
Ladd won a Gold Medal at the 2005 World Junior Championships when Team Canada won the tournament in Grand Forks, ND. He also played for Team Canada in 2011, 2012, and 2013 at the IIHF Men’s World Championship.
The United States Men’s National team sent out it’s invites today as well, with Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler, Jacob Trouba representing the Jets organization. The U.S. Orientation Camp is slated to take place August 26-27 at Kettler Capitals IcePlex in Arlington, VA.
Bogosian, 22, played in 33 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In that time, the right-handed blueliner recorded 14 points (5G, 9A) and 29 penalty minutes. The Massena, NY native has played in 297 career NHL games between Atlanta and Winnipeg for 103 career points (34G, 69A) and 237 penalty minutes. Bogosian made his international debut with the American National Team at the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland.
Byfuglien, 28, played in 43 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In that time, the Minneapolis, MN native recorded 28 points (8G, 20A) and 34 penalty minutes. He has played in 450 career NHL games between Chicago, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 243 career points (95G, 148A) and 467 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 39 post-season games for 25 points (14g, 11A) and won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10.
Trouba, 19, played in 37 games with the University of Michigan Wolverines during the 2012-13 season. In that time, the Rochester, MI native recorded 29 points (12G, 17A) along with 88 penalty minutes. Trouba was named to the 2013 CCHA All-Rookie Team determined by a vote of the conference’s head coaches and was also named Best Offensive defenceman for the CCHA. Trouba has won four medals for Team USA during his career, most recently a bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF Men’s World Championship. He also won a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey U-18 Championships and a silver medal in the 2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, ninth overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Wheeler, 26, played in 48 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In that time, the right-winger recorded 41 points (19G, 22A) and 28 penalty minutes. He led the Jets in goals and ranked second on the club’s leaderboard in overall points. The Robbinsdale, MN native has played in 372 career NHL games between Boston, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 232 career points (93G, 139A) and 228 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 21 post-season games, all with the Bruins for six points (1G, 5A) and six penalty minutes. Wheeler has played for the U.S Team twice, in 2006 at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and again in 2011 at the IIHF World Championship.
Olli Jokinen was also invited to the Finland Men’s National Men’s Team camp today as was 43-year old and former Jet Teemu Selanne, who still hasn’t confirmed if he is playing in the NHL next season.
(With files from the Winnipeg Jets press release)