WINNIPEG - Adam Lowry plans to have a "low key" summer, but July 19 was anything but.
The 25-year-old centre signed a three-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets that day, and - making the date even more important - avoiding the arbitration date, which was set for July 22, by three days.
Lowry couldn't imagine signing his deal - which comes with a 2.916 average annual value - with any other team.
"I wanted to be back in Winnipeg for a good amount of time. It's where I broke into the League, they're the team that drafted me and gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL," said Lowry, who the Jets chose in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
"To be able to sign for three more years, I'm ecstatic."
Periodically, Lowry's agent - Craig Oster - would give the forward updates on how the negotiations were going between him and Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and his team.
Over the last few days, those updates became more frequent, until pen was put to paper on the three-year deal worth $8.75 million.
"I'm glad we were able to come to an agreement that I think both sides are extremely happy with it," said Lowry, who can't wait to get back in the room with his teammates and friends.
"I really believe in this team we have. We have such a great group of guys. I don't think that's the case everywhere, that everyone gets along and we're all good friends. It's a lot of fun coming to the rink every day, putting on that sweater, and playing with the guys we have in Winnipeg. I definitely wanted to continue to be a part of that."
Video: OFF SEASON | Adam Lowry
The other thing he wanted to be a part of was the atmosphere inside (and outside) Bell MTS Place. The experience throughout this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs stuck with Lowry, even though it ended far too soon for his liking.
"It certainly was disappointing coming up short and losing in the Conference Final, but just seeing the passion the fans had at Bell MTS Place, seeing how loud it got and the atmosphere around the city, and knowing that I get to be in a hockey market and somewhere the fans really care about the team - they really care about us succeeding," said Lowry. "That was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up."
The 2017-18 campaign was Lowry's fourth in the NHL, and while injuries limited the 6'5" pivot to 45 games, he was still able to post eight goals and 21 points, while finishing second on the team in hits with 124.
He had 47 more in the postseason (giving him the team lead), while playing the role of the shutdown centre - a role he's grown into, and embraced.
"Obviously everyone wants to be a goal scorer, and scoring goals is a lot of fun and getting points - the offensive side of the game is a bit more glamorous," said Lowry. "But I think our line with Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev, we formed an identity this year. I felt we were able to grow as a line and grow that chemistry. They both really helped propel my game forward."
Lowry hopes to continue to build that chemistry when training camp begins, as he continues to hone his craft as a player who carries the responsibility of facing off with the other team's best.
"Getting the opportunity to go up against the other team's top lines, it's something that it's always fun to be challenged, and to know that you're playing a vital role," said Lowry. "You may not be scoring all the goals, but you're still providing a huge boost for your team if you're able to keep those guys off the score sheet…. It gives your team a great chance to win games."
The Jets won 52 games last season, and set a new franchise record in the process.
But Lowry knows it's just the beginning, and that belief is why it was important to him to put pen to paper.
As for the rest of the summer, Lowry plans to be in Calgary, AB for the most part - save for one more trip to Vancouver to see some extended family.
But when the calendar flips over to September, he'll be back in Winnipeg, ready to start all over again.
"There is usually a good group of guys that come back early to skate and get settled before training camp starts," Lowry said. "I'm really looking forward to joining the group we have in Winnipeg, and moving forward, continuing to build on what we started last year."