In partnership with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets announced Thursday that both forwards Seth Griffith and JC Lipon had agreed to near-identical one-year, two-way contracts with the big league team out of Manitoba for the 2019-20 NHL season. Despite suited up for a combined total of 129 games for the Moose in 2018-19, neither of the two forwards earned a call up last season.
Both Griffith, 26, and Lipon, 25, signed two-way deals featuring cap hits of $700K. This is the third-straight one-year deal offered to Lipon by the Jets, while 2019-20 will be the fourth-straight one-year deal for Griffith. Both players are expected to make something in the neighbourhood of $200K should they spend the upcoming season with Manitoba.
Griffith – a former fifth round selection of the Boston Bruins in 2013 – arrived on the scene with the Moose last season and accomplished nothing short of leading the team in points. In 69 regular season contests, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound centreman put up 16 goals and 57 points. Through 318 career AHL games, Griffith has 97 goals and 300 points.
Shortly after the Griffith announcement, the Jets also made known the signing of Lipon. Winnipeg’s third round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft saw his production dip slightly in 2018-19, despite skating in roughy 10 games less than his career average. In 60 games, the six-foot, 205-pound, right-shooting forward scored 11 times, while adding 15 assists. Lipon’s 121 penalty minutes led the team. In 391 career AHL contests, the hard-nosed checker has 67 goals, 191 points and 739 penalty minutes.
Both Griffith’s and Lipon’s new deals marks $50K pay raises. With spots surely opening up on Winnipeg’s front end, opportunity remains for both forwards to play themselves into a big league position. If not, Lipon will look to serve as an alternate captain in Manitoba for the fourth-straight season, while Griffith will hope to repeat his team-leading point total in 2019-20.
2018-19 Winnipeg Jets Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Jacob Trouba, Andrew Copp, Nathan Beaulieu, Joe Morrow and Eric Comrie are the other most notable restricted free agents left for General Manager Cheveldayoff to complete negotiations with. While prominent remaining unrestricted free agents include Tyler Myers, Kevin Hayes, Brandon Tanev, Ben Chiarot and Par Lindholm.