On Tuesday, True North Sports and Entertainment announced the contract renewal of defenceman Cam Schilling, as well as the signings of defenceman Anthony Bitetto and forward Mark Latestu. Despite signing with the Jets, the three new contracts will most likely be played out in the minors with the Jets’ American Hockey League affiliate Manitoba Moose.
Schilling, 30, signed a one-year, two-way deal at a $700K NHL value, bringing the veteran blueliner back in the fold with Winnipeg for the third year. The Carmel, IN. product spent the two past seasons dressing in 135 regular season games for the Moose, putting up a respectable 12 goals, 61 points and 57 penalty minutes. He dressed in four games for the Jets in 2018-19, picking up his first career NHL point in the process.
Bitetto, 28, spent the 2018-19 campaign between the Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild, collecting three assists and 12 penalty minutes in 36 regular season games. Since being drafted by the Preds in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Bitetto played out eight seasons with the organization. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenceman was claimed on Waivers by the Wild in late January, 2019.
Latestu, 34, has found his way around a handful of NHL teams over the course of his 10-year big-league career. After spending five seasons within the Penguins’ organization, Latestu played out three years in Columbus before moving to Edmonton for another three seasons. The small centreman was then shipped back to Columbus for the 2017-18 and 18-19 seasons. In 560 regular season NHL games, Latestu has 93 goals, 210 points and 90 penalty minutes. He scored five goals against Winnipeg with the Oilers in just three games during the 2016-17 season.
With 35 of the 50 maximum allowable players under contract, Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is expected to chip away at depth signings for the coming weeks, while looking to put pen to paper of his remaining restricted free agents: Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Neal Pionk and Andrew Copp.