The Winnipeg Jets have come to terms with defenceman Johnny Kovacevic on a one-year, two-way deal for the 2021-22 season. Drafted 74th overall in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Kovacevic is a big 24-year-old defender who has spent the majority of his time since drafted with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 220 pounds, the heavy blueliner played three years of NCAA hockey with Merrimack College from 2016-19 before joining the Moose for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. With the Warriors, he put up nine goals, 54 points and 58 penalty minutes, before proving to be a steady presence on Manitoba’s blueline the last two seasons.
Mainly working alongside Dylan Samberg on defence, Kovacevic provided shutdown defending, while also finding ways to contribute on offence. He has six goals, 26 points and 56 penalty minutes to his name through 74 AHL contests. After skating in 45 games during the 2019-20 season, he played in 29 of Manitoba’s 36 games last season in the shortened COVID year.
2021-22 will feature a contract that carries a league-minimum $750K at the NHL level. However, should he spend the year with the Moose – which his quite likely at this point – he will make an AHL minors salary of $90K. This will be an increase of $20K from his entry-level deal signed back in March of 2019.