Zach Bogosian signs 7-year, $36-million deal with Winnipeg Jets; paying for potential?

Zach Bogosian and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to a 7-year, $36-million contract on Monday, as the restricted free agent earns the fourth-highest cap hit for a Jets player.

From the Jets:

Bogosian, 23, 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. Along with his efforts on the ice, Bogosian was also awarded the Staffmax Staffing & Recruiting Community Service Award for his commitment to the Winnipeg community and his role with the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation.

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. He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round, third overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft.

So there are two ways of looking at this.

The first is that the Jets continue to overpay core players when that core hasn’t gotten the team to the playoffs. Blake Wheeler gets six years (!) and $33.6 million for two pretty good seasons. Bryan Little gets five years and $23.5 million for being a pretty good player. Now Bogosian gets seven years and a $5.14 million annual cap hit for being a pretty good player at 23.

In the first two cases, the “because it’s Winnipeg” critics (guilty) targeted the contracts as overpayment to ensure the players didn’t bolt. But in Bogosian’s case, I’ll opt for the other interpretation, which is that they’re overpaying for potential.

His skills set is unparalleled on the Jets’ blue line: Skates like the wind and hits like a brick. There’s no question the former third overall pick in the NHL Draft could develop into one of the League’s better defenseman, to the point where a $5.14 million cap hit is going to be laughable for the Jets.

(Of course, the Jets have been paying for potential before with Bogosian. At some point, hopefully he meets it.)

Illegal Curve had a good take on Bogosian’s value and his evaluation as an RFA. They figured six years and a $5.5 million hit. It ended up in that neighborhood, but for longer than expected.

Who should be happiest today? New York Rangers fans. A $4.7 million cap hit for six years for Ryan McDonagh, who may not have Bogosian’s potential but is a better player as of now? Good times.

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