The Winnipeg Jets and forward Michael Frolik avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract Tuesday, and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said the possibility of a long-term contract remains.
Frolik, who had 15 goals and 42 points in 81 games last season, will make $3.3 million in 2014-15. He and the Jets were scheduled to go to arbitration Thursday.
"Early in the process, we essentially discussed that this was not going to get to an arbitration," Cheveldayoff said. "It was more the fact that we wanted to make sure that Michael was under contract for us this coming year, and that's the benefit of the arbitration process.
"There's nothing etched in stone ever when you begin a negotiation that one, you're going to get a deal, or two, you're going to get a deal with different types of term. The arbitration process allowed that guarantee, at least in this situation, that there was going to be a one-year deal.
"Early on, we both talked about the fact that this wasn't something that needed to get to that point because we weren't trying to claw back salary, we weren't trying to do anything to harm the relationship. It was just time to make sure a deal was going to be done and if there was the basis for something else, we would have looked at it. We did look at it and we'll continue to look at it as well."
Frolik was a first-round pick (No. 10) by the Florida Panthers at the 2006 NHL Draft and scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 10, 2011, won the Stanley Cup in 2013, and was traded to Winnipeg a few weeks later. He has 76 goals and 193 points in 430 games for Florida, Chicago and Winnipeg.
There were talks this summer of a long-term contract, but the sides ultimately settled on one year. Frolik is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
"The conversations were very open," Cheveldayoff said. "The dialogues were very candid and very productive. It's just the matter of fact that we don't have a longer-term deal at this point in time. If the arbitration process wasn't to begin in earnest this morning, we probably would still be talking. It is part of the way the summer unfolds and sometimes you're able to beat the deadline and accomplish some of the things that you set out to. But whether it's a deal that happens at different points in time, we'll just continue to talk.
"You have to make some decisions based on timing, and we both just felt it was best to agree on a one-year deal at this point in time and we can continue the conversations as we move forward."
The Jets will open the 2014-15 NHL season Oct. 9 against the Arizona Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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