The Winnipeg Jets have several prominent names scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, perhaps none more important than checking center Adam Lowry. The 28-year-old is coming to the end of a three-year, $8.75 million deal he signed with the Jets in 2018 and would likely draw quite a crowd if he hit the open market. That’s exactly what the Jets are hoping doesn’t happen, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that progress is being made on an extension and things currently look “optimistic.”
Lowry, 28, certainly isn’t the flashiest of players but occupies a key role in the middle of the Jets’ lineup. The 6-5 center takes the most faceoffs on the team, provides a huge amount of physicality -- he leads the Canucks with 132 hits through 44 games–and is a key forward on the team’s 11th-ranked penalty kill. Add in the fact that Lowry is having arguably the best offensive season of his career, with eight goals and 20 points through 44 games, and you get a player that no team would want to lose.
The good thing for the Jets, who already have nearly $57 million committed to the 2021-22 season, is that many of those things don’t end up carrying a ton of weight in contract negotiations, despite being valuable to the team. Lowry isn’t anywhere near the biggest name on the Winnipeg roster and will never lead the Jets in any scoring category, meaning his cap hit should stay reasonable on a multi-year extension.
Lowry isn’t the only player on the Jets roster heading for unrestricted free agency though. Paul Stastny, Matthieu Perreault, Nate Thompson, Trevor Lewis, Derek Forbort, Tucker Poolman, Laurent Brossoit, and the newly acquired Jordie Benn are all on expiring deals, meaning this won’t be the last extension decision the team needs to make in the coming months. Add in the looming expansion draft that makes any re-signs even more complicated—the Jets have probably six forwards who will demand protecting if Andrew Copp’s strong play has put him in that group, not leaving much flexibility between names like Lowry and Mason Appleton—and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a lot of work to do, even if the trade deadline has now passed.