By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
WINNIPEG — It wasn’t as busy a day as some expected (or maybe hoped), but the Winnipeg Jets definitely made some roster adjustments on Sunday as NHL free agency season opened at 1 p.m. CT.
The biggest move for the team was the signing of 32-year-old veteran Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year, $1.8 million deal. The native of Kiev, Ukraine spent time with the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils this past year, tallying 14 goals and 19 assists in 82 regular season games. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger added 9 points in 24 playoff games during the Devils’ run to the Stanley Cup Final.
A pair of unrestricted free agents will not be returning to the Jets for the upcoming season.
Regina-born Tanner Glass signed a two-year, $2.2 million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while 36-year-old backup goaltender Chris Mason signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Nashville Predators.
Without an apparent backup goaltender currently on their roster, expect the team to sign a netminder in the very near future.
The team also re-signed 28-year-old Winnipeg-born defenceman Derek Meech to a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $700,000 with the parent club or $105,000 with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
Winnipeg’s leading goal scorer from 2011-12, restricted free agent Evander Kane, remains unsigned but has been given a qualifying offer, while unrestricted free agents Kyle Wellwood, Tim Stapleton, Mark Flood, and Randy Jones have yet to sign pacts.