On Friday afternoon, the Winnipeg Jets announced the re-signing of defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to a two-year contract, carrying a $1.25 million annual average value. Later in the day, the team also announced the re-signing of fellow defender Luca Sbisa to a one-year contract carrying a $800K annual average value.
Following Wednesday’s news of the Dylan DeMelo four-year contract, it appears as though GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has opted to build from within and help restore his dwindling blueline from the year before. Despite the signings of the three returnees, both Carl Dahlstrom and Anthony Bitetto have left the organization, with Dahlstrom being part of the return on the Paul Stastny trade, while Bitetto chose to sign with his hometown New York Rangers later on Friday.
At times, Beaulieu played above expectations as a third-pair defender, but upon other occasions he failed to excite, often providing disappointment on the back-end. Although his numbers are not impressive, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound blueliner did manage a goal and 13 points in 56 combined games with the Jets over the past two seasons. He had one goal, eight points and 29 penalty minutes in 38 games of an injury-riddled 2019-20 campaign.
Sbisa, much like Beaulieu, played most of the 2019-20 season injured. As a defensive defenceman, the Italian blueliner has played parts of the past 12 seasons within the league as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Islanders and most recently the Winnipeg Jets. Sbisa has also had three separate AHL stints throughout his career. In 548 career games, he has 20 goals, 113 points and 385 penalty minutes – two goals and 10 of those points came with Winnipeg.