nino niederreiter WPG contract extension

Nino Niederreiter signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. It has an average annual value of $4 million and begins next season.

The 31-year-old forward could have been an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 24 games.

"Obviously, I'm very happy to be here for another three years, and I mean, you kind of pair with when you talk to your agent and what the plan is and where to go," Niederreiter said Monday, "but overall I trust him and I think he did a good job and I'm very happy I'm here.”

The Jets acquired Niederreiter in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25 for a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

"Yeah, it's awesome news," Jets captain Adam Lowry said. "I think it's good to know that he'll be here and to hopefully get the opportunity to play with him a lot more and continue building that chemistry. (It's} been a great fit since we got him last [season]. He's really well-liked and respected in the dressing room. He plays super hard and I think he's kind of what we're all about in this organization."

Niederreiter said he thinks the Jets have a strong future, and seeing franchise stalwarts in goalie Connor Hellebuyck and forward Mark Scheifele sign long-term contracts during the offseason inspired him to earn his own deal.

"It definitely showed to the city and to the team that they want to go for a run here and want to be a contender," Niederreiter said. "I think as a player that's where you want to be. And obviously, once they signed I tried to do whatever I could possible to play my best hockey and earn another contract, and now here I am, and I'm pretty happy about it."

The Jets (14-8-2) moved within one point of second in the Central Division with a 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

“I think it's a hard-working group," Niederreiter said. "I feel like they keep each other honest and you've got to earn your ice time. the coach is straightforward with the things, the lineup, being on with [Mason Appleton] and [Lowry], I think we've got a great role. We know exactly what we've got to do and we’re doing a pretty good job with it. We know it's a long season, a lot of tough games ahead for us, but it's been fun.”

The No. 5 pick by the New York Islanders in the 2010 NHL Draft has 423 points (211 goals, 212 assists) in 834 games for the Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Predators and Jets. Niederreiter has 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 87 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"He wants to be here, it's plain and simple," Jets coach Rick Bowness said. "He wants to be a Winnipeg Jet. We have a guy who could have played out the season, gone to unrestricted free agency and see what else was out there, other locations, other teams, but he wants to be a Winnipeg Jet. He's been a huge addition to our team since we got him last year. Versatility. He's a competitor. He's a great teammate. Hard-working guy. He's a really good Winnipeg Jet.

"Listen, all we heard a couple of years ago is people wanted out. Now, we're hearing people want in. That's a great thing."

\ independent correspondent Darrin Bauming contributed to this report \