WINNIPEG - Josh Morrissey wanted to be a member of the Winnipeg Jets for the long-term. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wanted that as well.
The two sides may have had to wait a year longer than they wanted, but ultimately, the job got done.
The team's salary cap implications heading into the 2018-19 season kept the two sides from reaching a long-term deal, but now heading into the 2019-20 season and Morrissey heading into the final year of his deal, the time was right.
Morrissey put pen to paper on an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $6.25 million on Sept. 12, the first day of training camp.
"It's a really exciting day for myself and my family," said Morrissey.
"I felt it was a great fit. I love playing here. The term excited me, the fact I get to have that stability. To be here and playing in Winnipeg, from day one that's what I've always wanted to do. To have that, and the way it worked out, I'm really excited."
Video: TRAINING CAMP | Josh Morrissey
The negotiation process began when Cheveldayoff met with Morrissey's agent at this summer's NHL Draft. Throughout the process, Cheveldayoff applauded Morrissey's patience.
"We were real excited when we first started talking about term with Josh," said Cheveldayoff. "He wore his emotion on his sleeve last year, he wanted a long term deal then and was open to it. It was more about us. We couldn't get to where we needed to get to in order to have a deal that both sides would be comfortable with.
"Kudos to Josh for realizing that, understanding what we had in front of us as a team, and taking a bridge deal last year in order to continue to work and have faith on both sides that a long-term deal gets done."
The 24-year-old left defenceman was drafted 13th overall by the Jets in the 2013 NHL Draft and has developed within the organization. He spent one season with the Manitoba Moose and now has three full seasons (223 NHL games) under his belt. In 2018-19, he set career-highs in assists (25), points (31), and ice time (22:24).
He's a performer on the ice, but also in the community. He won the team's Wawanesa Insurance Community Service Award in 2016-17, then earned the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy in 2018-19 - awarded to the player who best embodies perseverance, dedication, and hard work without recognition.
"The interesting thing where you really got a glimpse into Josh was at the end of one of his junior seasons when he went and played with the St. John's IceCaps and they went to the finals," said Cheveldayoff. "He stepped in at a very young age and played one of the best couple series that we'd seen him play at that point in time in his young career.
"He's a top notch person and is always willing to give back to the community and is always willing to do things for others on his team. We're really excited today to be able to announce this and have him as a long-term Jet."
While Morrissey didn't set any sort of deadline in terms of when he wanted the deal done by (so negotiations didn't leak into training camp), he's relieved the contract work is complete. Now, the Calgary, AB product is focused on continuing to improve his game on the ice over the course of the next nine seasons in Jets colours.
"I have definitely lofty goals for myself in my career," Morrissey said. "I think one of the things that really excites me about having the stability of this deal is I can go out there now and play and realistically worry about playing hockey and seeing where I can take my game to - as an individual and as a team.
"I'm excited to have the ability to focus solely on becoming the best player I can be."
With training camp underway with medicals on Thursday and on-ice fitness testing on Friday, Morrissey is excited to go to work with his teammates - even if it means he might be on the hook for a dinner or two.
"I'm guessing there will be something along those lines," Morrissey said with a grin. "I'll try to slip out the back door."