On Friday morning, the Winnipeg Jets re-signed defenceman Sami Niku to a two-year contract, carrying an average annual value of $725K. The 24-year-old suited up in 17 contests for the Jets last year and put up five assists and 12 penalty minutes.
Despite balancing call-ups, extended press box stays, American Hockey League assignments and an array of injuries – which began with a highly-documented car accident in training camp with fellow Finnish product Kristian Vesalainen – Niku was in good spirits to end the season, despite his limited use.
The 1996-born blueliner also spent time with the Manitoba Moose last year where he scored three times and added 11 assists for 14 points in 18 games. He recorded another 12 penalty minutes in the AHL, to go alongside his 12 in the big leagues. In total, Niku has played in 114 American League games, to which he has 22 goals, 80 points and 56 penalty minutes. He has two goals, 10 points and 14 penalty minutes in 48 NHL games.
Just two seasons back, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defender became just the second rookie to ever win the AHL’s best defenceman award with his 16 goals and 54 points in 76 games. The two seasons following that breakout campaign were highlighted with trips back and forth from the AHL to the NHL and back again. He will look to earn a permanent place on the Jets roster this winter.