Selected ninth overall by the Jets in 2014, Ehlers was a top-10 rookie scorer in 2015-16 and a top-30 overall scorer last year. The 21-year-old is among the Jets’ most important forwards, only slightly behind Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele. He has one year remaining on his entry-level deal before his new $6-million salary cap hit kicks in for the 2018-19 campaign.
As Sportsnet NHL contributor Andrew Berkshire recently wrote for his list of the definitive ranking of the NHL’s top 23 left-wingers over the past three seasons: “Ehlers is one of the most effective wingers in the game at bringing the puck up the ice with control, and once he gets there he’s nearly equally talented at putting the puck in the net, or on a teammate’s stick in scoring position.”
A long-term commitment to a player like Ehlers seems like a safe bet but it does mean both the team and its fans will expect him to improve upon 2016-17’s 64-point campaign. By playing on a line with Patrik Laine and Bryan Little, as he’s expected to, plus getting time on the first power-play unit, there’s no reason to expect a decline in production from the talented Dane.
With that in mind here are some young players with similar contracts to the one Ehlers signed.
— David Pastrnak: six years, $40 million, $6,666,666 cap hit
— Sean Monahan: seven years, $44.625 million, $6.375-million cap hit
— Nathan MacKinnon: seven years, $44.1 million, $6.3-million cap hit
— Mark Scheifele: eight years, $49 million, $6.125-million cap hit
— Filip Forsberg: six years, $36 million, $6-million cap hit
— Brandon Saad: six years, $36 million, $6-million cap hit
— Jonathan Huberdeau: six years, $35.4 million, $5.9-million cap hit
— Aleksander Barkov: six years, $35.4 million, $5.9-million cap hit
— Gabriel Landeskog: seven years, $39 million, $5,571,429 cap hit
— Jonathan Drouin: six years, $33 million, $5.5-million cap hit
— Bo Horvat: six-year deal, $33 million, $5.5-million cap hit
— Jaden Schwartz: five years, $26.75 million, $5.35-million cap hit
— Nino Niederreiter: five years, $26.25 million, $5.25-million cap hit