- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms on a $42 million, seven-year contract extension with forward Nikolaj Ehlers on Wednesday.

The extension begins a year from now and carries an average annual value of $6 million, the Jets said in a statement.

“This team, this organization, this city … from Day 1 I was happy here,” Ehlers said before the Jets opened their season against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

“It’s amazing playing in front of all these fans. Winnipeg as a city is amazing, they love their hockey, so I could not see any reason to not want to stay here long term.”

The 21-year-old Ehlers had 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) in 82 games for the Jets last season.

“He can play both wings, he can play with different centers, he’s made a huge jump from the end of last year,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

The 6-foot 172-pound native of Aalborg, Denmark, had 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) in his rookie season.

Ehlers, the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, is a key part of the Jets’ young core with Calder Trophy runner-up Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele.

“As Nik’s linemate and good buddy, it’s awesome to see a nice guy like that get rewarded,” Laine said. “Nik’s going to be a leader for this team for many years.”

Winnipeg missed the playoffs last season after finishing fifth in the Central Division with 87 points.


For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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