The latest news involving the Winnipeg Jets is they have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Sami Niku on a two-year deal.
Niku, the seventh round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is coming off his entry level contract with the Jets. Niku started his time in the Jets organization in 2017-2018 and played a full season with the Manitoba Mosose in the AHL, but he did get to make his NHL debut on April 3, 2018 against Montreal. He did, in fact, score in his debut.
Since the start of the 2018-2019 season, Niku has split his time with Winnipeg and Manitoba. Last season he played in 17 games with the big club where he only amassed five assists and had a -2 plus/minus.
His contributions were a bit better in the AHL during the 2019-2020 season. He had three goals and eleven assists in 18 games, but sustained a -6 plus/minus. It is fair to say that Niku has struggled adapting his game to the North American style of play.
Niku was named to Winnipeg’s 2020 postseason roster, but did not see his name on the lineup sheet at any time during Winnipeg’s qualifying round loss to the Calgary Flames.
According to Puck Pedia, Niku’s new contract carries a $725,000 AAV with his base salary being $700,000 in the first year and $750,000 in the second year. Niku will be eligible in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, which is scheduled to take place next June.
Before coming overseas to play in Winnipeg’s organization, Niku played in the SM-Liiga for JyP HT Jyvaskyla. He also has represented Finland at the Under-20 level in the 2015 and 2016 World Junior Championship.
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