Did the Jets lock-up Bogosian too soon?

bogosian

The disastrous 2013-14 season for the Winnipeg Jets is coming to a close. The team has failed as a whole at reaching its goal of making the playoffs.  Injuries have affected the Jets. Thus far, after 80 games, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler are the only players to have played all 82 games. One player that has had a very hard time staying healthy this year and throughout his brief career is Zach Bogosian.

Prior to the 2013-14 season, the Jets signed defenceman Zach Bogosian to a seven year $36 million dollar contract. That’s quite lucrative for the Atlanta Thrashers 2008 first round pick.

This year, it is no different.

Bogosian has played 55 games this year and a season low 11 points (3G & 8A).

It’s been a very poor season for the former Peterborough Pete. The Jets locked up Bogosian last summer to a rather large contract for a player that hasn’t hit north of 30 points in his career. Though offence is not Bogosian’s strong suit, signing somebody to a cap hit of $5.1 million dollars a year that hasn’t hit over 30 points yet was an odd move.

Bogosian has been a fan favourite in Winnipeg.

His tough style of play is likeable and his defensive play has shown promise. This year, it has been a different story for Bogosian.

He has struggled in both parts of the game, defensively and offensively. The Jets gave Bogosian the money that they think he will be worthy of towards the end of his contract.

That is not how the Jets should have handled his contract.

They should have signed Bogosian to a bridge contract before they signed this sort of extensive and costly contract.

A bridge contract is a contract of 1 or 2 years, which is a sort of evaluation period for a player when the team is unsure how much the player is worth. These contracts are given out so the team can get a better grip on the player’s ability and what the player is worth.

For example, P.K Subban sat out the first four games of the lockout shortened 2012-13 season while contract negotiations were ongoing. Subban wanted a long term contract, but the Canadiens would not budge.

Subban signed a two year bridge contract worth $5.25 million dollars.

At the end of that year he captured the Norris Trophy, an award given to the NHL’s best defeneceman.

Signing Bogosian to a seven year contract is a crazy thing to do along with the fact they are signing him to top dollar money for a player that has proven so little is strange. The Jets have preached patience with their developing of NHL prospects. You would think they would have a similar style in RFA signings but this contract shows otherwise.

By The Numbers

Zach Bogosian has a $5.1 million dollar cap hit on his salary.

That is the 25th highest cap hit for a defenceman in the NHL.

That might not seem like a huge number, but it is when you only score 11 points and have an inability to stay healthy. Bogosian has been more relavent in the Jets chequebooks than on the ice. Typically people that make north of $5 million dollars are impact players for their teams.

Zach Bogoisan makes more money than…

D  Kevin Shatenkirk (STL)
$4.2 cap hit, 44 points in 78 games this season. Played for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
D Ryan McDonagh (NYR)
$4.7 cap hit, 43 points in 77 games this season. Can play in all game situations and log big minutes. Good size, skating and shot.
D  Marc- Edouard Vlasic (SJ)
$4.2 mil cap hit. 24 points in 79 games. One of the leagues best defensive defenceman. He represented Canada at the Sochi Olympic games.
D Paul Martin (PIT)
$5 mil cap hit. 13 points in 36 games. Named to Team USA for the Sochi Winter Olympics. Can log big minutes and has good size. Plays well in most areas of the game.

Conclusion

Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has stated that he believes in the Jets young core of players. Chevy put his money where his mouth is this past summer and locked up Bryan Little (5 year, $23.5 mil) Blake Wheeler (6 years, $33.6 mil) and Zach Bogosian ( 7 year, $36 mil).

Little and Wheeler have been arguably the Jets two best players.

Cheveldayoff might have signed Bogosian to his large contract to have his whole core in place. The Jets sounded confident in the ability of its core group of players and leadership.

After this year’s disastrous season there are things to rethink especially Bogosian’s contract.

At this point it seems like his contract came a little too soon. One thing about Bogosian is that Jets management must be happy about is his willingness to express his love for Winnipeg.

It is apparent he loves Winnipeg and wants to be a part of this team for a long time.  

I’m not giving up on Bogosian at all but his lucrative contract is hard to ignore when he is injured the majority of the season. Who knows maybe the remaining 6 seasons of his contract will be outstanding.

Bogosian’s play is one of the many things up in the air with this team.

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A High School Student who loves the game of hockey but especially the Winnipeg Jets, you can follow me on twitter at @officialjetfuel.