General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and the front office staff of the Winnipeg Jets made most of the league’s headlines Monday. Of the four players who put pen to paper on new contracts (Kristian Reichel, Arvid Holm, Ryan Reaves, Oskari Laaksonen), two of which signed with the Jets. And as a matter of fact, three of the four players signing fresh deals actually have ties to the city of Winnipeg.
On Monday morning, news broke that 22-year-old forward Kristian Reichel had agreed to an entry-level deal with the Jets. This contract came as the ‘reward’ for a two-year trial or test-run, per say, with Winnipeg’s farm club in the American Hockey League. After spending the past two seasons of play with the Manitoba Moose, Reichel progressed from back-to-back AHL contracts to a two-year, big-league deal with the parent club.
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Reichel’s new contract carries a cap hit of $753K for the next two seasons beginning in 2020-21. Should he spend time with the Jets next year, he would earn $715K in total salary, while in 2021-22 he would make $790. In the minors, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward would make $70K annually.
“I’m really excited to sign my first NHL contract with the Winnipeg Jets,” Reichel posted to his Instagram page Monday. “This wouldn’t (have) happened without (the) support of my family, my agent, coaches and teammates. THANK YOU! One step closer to my kid dream.”
The undrafted forward of Litvinov, CZE. spent the better part of his developmental years playing high-level hockey out of his native Czech Republic – much like his father Robert (who went on to play 10 seasons in the NHL, most notably with Calgary and Toronto).
Following his first-round selection in the 2017 CHL Import Draft, Reichel played one season with the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels, where he produced at nearly a point-per-game rate, collecting 34 goals and 57 points in 63 regular season games, before adding another three goals and five points in five postseason contests.
Reichel signed an AHL contract with the Moose in July of 2018, where he went on to collect 14 goals, 27 points and 32 penalty minutes in 94 total games played. Despite missing roughly two months of early-season action in 2019-20 due to injury, the speedy forward scored in his return to action, before adding another five goals in Manitoba’s final six contests of the year.
Later in the day, True North Sports + Entertainment announced the signing of 21-year-old goaltender Arvid Holm to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal carries an annual average value of $873K.
Holm, a left-handed catching draft selection, was chosen 167th overall by Winnipeg out of the Swedish SuperElit’s Karlskrona HK J20 in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. After two seasons of play in the J20 division, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound backstop ranked up to Allsvenskan for 2018-19, where he improved his numbers to feature a .907 save percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average in 32 games for Karlskrona HK.
Last season saw Holm suit up for Farjestad BK of the 14-team Swedish Hockey League – Sweden’s highest level of professional hockey. The youthful netminder put up a 20-10-0 record with one shutout in 31 games, while posting a respectable .915 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average, which placed him eighth in the league.
The Ljungby, SWE. product will now find himself buried on the Jets’ depth chart, as fellow goaltenders Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit remain as mainstays with the Jets, while Eric Comrie and Mikhail Berdin serve as budding prospects within Manitoba’s roster. Both Jared Moe (184th overall in 2018) and Logan Neaton (144th overall in 2019) are also unsigned draft picks within the organization.
The other player with ties to the province of Manitoba that signed a new contract on Monday is Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves. The Winnipeg product agreed to terms on a two-year, $3.5 million extension. The contract will begin in the 2020-21 season and will carry an annual average value of $1.75 million.
The 33-year-old played the past two-and-a-half seasons with the Golden Knights, after being acquired from Pittsburgh on February 23, 2018. The former Brandon Wheat King set career highs in 2018-19 with nine goals and 20 points in 80 games. In 71 games this past season, Reaves had eight goals and 15 points. In 649 total NHL contests, he put up 48 goals, 96 points and 910 penalty minutes.