Hellebuyck Scheifele WPG season preview

Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck each signed a seven-year, $59.5 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The contracts, which will begin next season, have an average annual value of $8.5 million.

Scheifele and Hellebuyck could have been unrestricted free agents after this season.

Scheifele led the Jets and was tied for ninth in the NHL with a career-high 42 goals last season. He also led the team in power-play goals (12) and was third in points (68).

He said owner Mark Chipman, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and coach Rick Bowness all have a big hand in making him the player he is.

"I’m very honored and I can’t thank the organization enough, Mark Chipman, 'Chevy,' 'Bones' for trusting in me as a player," Scheifele said Tuesday. "I was drafted here and my mom reminded me I signed my deal on the day of my first NHL game. It’s pretty wild how things happened and there is nothing more that I want more than to win the Stanley Cup for the Winnipeg Jets and to do it alongside 'Helley,' to get this whole process done with the likes of a Vezina goalie like Connor, I can’t think of a more hard-working dialed in athlete in the game and I’m lucky to sitting beside him here today.

"I can’t thank the fans, I can’t thank my family enough. I’m tremendously honored and very excited to get the season going."

Jets extend Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele

The 30-year-old forward was the first player selected by Winnipeg after it relocated from Atlanta, going No. 7 in the 2011 NHL Draft. He is second in Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers history in goals (272), assists (373) and points (645) in 723 regular-season games, and first in Stanley Cup Playoff goals (19).

He said his decision to stay in Winnipeg were influenced by two of his hockey idols -- Detroit Red Wings great Steve Yzerman and legendary Jet Dale Hawerhcuk, who died August 18, 2020 as the age of 57.

"Those two guys in particular weighed on my thinking a lot," Scheifele said. "To see Dale being a Jet was a big one. It’s a tremendous honor, I’ll never be Dale Hawerchuk, but to know he’s up there watching down on all of us and knowing that I’ll be a lifetime Jet is pretty phenomenal and it gives me the chills. I’m very honored and very excited."

Hellebuyck, who was selected by the Jets in the fifth round (No. 130) of the 2012 NHL Draft, is entering his ninth season with Winnipeg. Last season, he went went 37-25-2 with a 2.49 goals-against average,.920 save percentage and four shutouts in 64 games, which tied for the most in the NHL with Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators. He finished third in voting for the Vezina Trophy, which he previously won in 2020.

"When you’re sitting back and gather all the information around the League that you possibly can, you don’t get a team that is as dialled in as we are and I think that leads with you, Mark," Helledbuyck said. "So thank you for being the player you are and thanks to the organization that believes in me. I think that was the most important aspect and the way I looked at it, this organization believes in me the way I believe in myself and that’s kind of the way I’ve gotten to where I am now and it’s really hard to leave that.

"That breads success and I want to thank you guys a lot for believing in me the way I believe in myself and now I’m ready to be a Jet for life and bring a Cup to this city because I truly believe we can get it done here."

In 445 regular-season games (436 starts), Hellebuyck is 238-154-37 with a 2.66 GAA, .916 save percentage and 32 shutouts. He ranks first in Jets/Thrashers history in wins, save percentage and shutouts.

Cheveldayoff said the contracts are an illustration of how committed the two players and management are to winning a championship.

"A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to have a chat before training camp started and I mentioned at that time there were two exciting times of the year, training camp and when you start the playoffs," Cheveldayoff said. "We have a unique opportunity to have a third real exciting time and this is a real pleasure for me to be sitting beside Schief and Helley. What they’e committed to our organization and what our organization committed to them speaks volumes of what they want and they want to win."

The Jets open their regular season at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SNW).

NHL.com staff writer Derek Van Diest contributed to this report