Before we dive into the Skinner deal it's time we address a bit of the personal rumor-mongering that has gone on around the Jets.
It's as bad as ever and frankly pretty sad. It's high-time people get a life, find a hobby and move on from BS salacious crap. One person has had to make their social media entirely private and this is entirely based on unsubstantiated claims from out of nowhere. Sure the closed door meetings with players at end the season did not help nor did some of the comments from head coach Paul Maurice but unless some one was in that room to hear the issues or had a player tell them directly then it's all conjecture and crap.
So Skinner receives 9 million a year for the next 8 years. Skinner's deal is a bit weird in that the salaries and signing bonuses are a bit odd but only to deal with the impending labour battle between the NHL and NHLPA. Next season Skinner receives a 7.5m bonus and 2.5m in salary and the same concluding after the 21-22 season when the collective bargaining agreement expires.
Within 3 years Skinner will have earned 37.5m total of the 72m. Not bad.
This is the list of players
who have scored 120 more goals from 2015-16 to the end of 2018-19 by the age of 27.
Here is the list for players scoring 200 or more goals
since 2010-11 by age 27. Notice an old Jets friend?
Skinner is an elite scorer and there's not question about it. When you update that benchmark to 240 the list is four players. Stamkos, Seguin, Skinner and Tavares. Now look at their salaries.
So where do guys like Laine and Connor fit into all of this?
Here's the list of all players by age 22 from 2016-17 to 2018-19
who have scored 60 or more goals. It's interesting how 5 of them are coming up for deals this summer. Also interesting that the Jets have 3 players on that list. So the question becomes is Skinner comparable as he was free to go anywhere and these players are not?
Connor and Laine are not of the quality of Marner, Pastrnak, Poiint or Rantanen but they are not far off, so if those 3 (Pastrnak is signed) use Skinner as a benchmark perhaps that works in the Jets favor for valuing the UFA years if each player is to get a contract. What's crazy is Skinner is making more than Blake Wheeler will on his net deal and has never sniffed Wheeler's top years but he's also 5 year younger.
Keep in mind that the Jets will use Wheeler's deal as their top end benchmark in all probability so perhaps the route that Matthews went with a 5-year deal is a move that becomes an option. At this point there might be bonus money and some security for players at a lower cost with the risk for the team that both could leave after 5 years. That seems to not be the way the Jets have played their hands in the past. The Jets have avoided bridge deasl with their key young forward players with Kane, Scheifele, and Ehlers all singing long-term deals of 6, 8 and 7 years. Would things be any different with Connor and Schiefele?
The key here is value- what is their value? Both Laine and Connor have matched Skinner's goal output and exceeded his highest point total but what about other metrics?
Skinners pts/60 rate average for career is 1.718 and his last three seasons have him at 2.04
Laine is 1.89 with his peak in rookie year at 2.32 then 2 then 1.35
Connor is 1.63 with his peak last season at 2.23.
These guys are not producing the same consistency individually and that's the concern- what are they? That's one metric but points matter most in contract talks especially when your main asset is to score goals.
It's safe to say that they are not Jeff Skinner yet and Skinner has played on teams far worse than what the Winnipeg Jets have been the past 3 seasons. Now how is a number applied to them? This may come down to strategy and Chevy will qualify his RFA forwards and then see how other teams value players like Aho and Rantenen first while knowing Marner might be the unique entity of all the top RFA forwards. If comparable within this young RFA class get close to Skinner money it could hurt or help the Jets but if they fall short then it's good news for Chevy.
I'm not sure what is the right number it's too hard to tell but unless something shocking happens neither are going to eclipse Wheeler and that's probably good news. Connor could likely end up around the same amount as Nylander and perhaps Laine a bit more but how much more and for how long?
I doubt we see 8 years and I doubt the number gets to Wheeler level, Laine is not as good as the top RWs and has much to learn. Hopefully he learns it all in a Jets jersey and earns a massive payday on his next deal.