Jets, Ehlers agree to 7-year, $42 million extension

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27) drives out of the corner as Ottawa Senators' Dion Phaneuf (2) defends during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Jets agreed to terms on a $42 million, seven-year contract extension with Ehlers on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

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.


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Updated October 4, 2017

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