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Mark Scheifele, Jets agree on eight-year contract

Center was Winnipeg's first draft choice after relocating from Atlanta in 2011 @NHLdotcom

Center Mark Scheifele agreed to terms Friday on an eight-year, $49 million contract to remain with the Winnipeg Jets.

Scheifele, 23, was the Jets' first draft choice after the franchise relocated from Atlanta in 2011. Last season, he led Winnipeg with 29 goals and a plus-16 rating, each an NHL career-high.

"I'm definitely happy with my progression, but I know there's a long way to go," said Scheifele, who was selected No. 7 in the 2011 NHL Draft. "I'm going to continue to work on that. I know signing this deal realistically does nothing. It's all what happens on the ice that matters, and that's what I'm going to continue to do -- continue to work on my game, continue to be the best player that I can be and work to be the best player that I can be. That's my goal, to be one of the elite players in the League and one of the best players in the League."

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said it was important for the Jets to get a long-term contract for Scheifele, who was a restricted free agent.

Video: Scheifele on signing an eight-year deal

"We've been able to watch him, obviously, very closely since he's been on the NHL side of the Jets," Cheveldayoff said, "and the commitment level on the ice, the commitment level off the ice, the qualities that he embodies just as a human being and as a person, we were really excited that we were able to get this done today."

Scheifele said knowing that 6-foot-5, 260-pound defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is committed to Winnipeg was helpful to him during negotiations.

"He's one of the best defensemen in the League," Scheifele said of the 31-year-old. "To have that guy shooting pucks, possibly giving him pucks to shoot -- and hopefully it doesn't hit you -- it definitely gets you very excited. And having him on the back end too. He's a very good protector. I know one time in L.A., I hit [Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor] Lewis, he came bolting in, and that's definitely someone you want on your team. So, definitely, him signing that five-year [extension in February] was huge for me."

Video: GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on signing Scheifele

Scheifele has 145 points (58 goals, 87 assists) in 227 games over five seasons with the Jets. He set an NHL career high with 61 points in 71 games in 2015-16.

Cheveldayoff would not comment on negotiations with 22-year-old RFA defenseman Jacob Trouba, the Jets' first-round pick (No. 9) in 2012.

"We've got several RFAs to get locked up here as the summer progresses, and we're going to continue our work methodically in that fashion," he said.

Winnipeg on Thursday signed forward Mathieu Perreault to a four-year, $16.5 million contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season.

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