Jansen Harkins is Signed, Can He Help the Jets to Increase Their NHL Odds?

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Updated: November 16, 2020

The Winnipeg Jets agreed to a two-year contract with Jansen Harkins this last week, signing the North Vancouver forward for an average annual value of approximately $725k. This contract comes after a 2019 debut with the Winnipeg team and three years with the Manitoba Moose. Time spent in the AHL has given Harkins a reputation as a committed player, something that has paid off after making the most of his late December call-up with the Jets.

As Harkins joins the Jets for the 2020-21 season with this one-way contract, he brings with him an impressive record and, more importantly, a consistent work ethic. But is that enough to shift the odds for Winnipeg in the upcoming NHL season and how do they fare against the favorites to win?

MVP Stats

Jansen Harkins first signed with Winnipeg in 2017 on a three-year deal, fresh out of a four-year WHL stint with the Prince George Cougars where he was team captain. Selected 47th overall in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, he played for Manitoba on an entry-level contract when he signed on.

Last season in the AHL — which ended up being partial due to the time he spent playing for the Jets–Harkins saw play in 30 games and brought in 31 points (7 goals and 24 assists) leading to the Manitoba Moose naming him team MVP. The opportunity to fill in on the Winnipeg team for the remainder of the 2019-20 season allowed the B.C. local to showcase his abilities, which has helped seal the literal deal this year.

A Key Goal

Like much of traditional sports, the NHL had its seasonal delays, pushing the Stanley Cup Playoffs to August instead of the anticipated April. When the Jets were finally up against the competition they found themselves without their hardened forwards and their odds were looking slim. Then Jansen Harkins came in.

Scoring his very first Stanley Cup Playoffs goal and a key goal putting Winnipeg up 1-0, Harkins helped to reestablish a sentiment of resilience when the Jets needed it–and where his career needed it. Harkins had been building a reputation before, but this winning goal solidified his standing as a focused, intense, and hard-working player to onlookers.

Long-term Opportunity

Now, Harkins has earned his position with a one-way contract, meaning he’ll receive the same salary whether he’s playing in the AHL or the NHL. This bodes well, pointing to the probability that he’ll now be a full-time roster player and that the Jets will have a place for him in the future as well. The pay grade is a step up from his prior contract, but he’ll have his work cut out for him in the coming season.

An Uncertain Season

The 2020-21 NHL season is predicted to begin after the start of the new year or later because of coronavirus delays, making planning a tense subject in hockey. Talk of location restrictions and contention regarding the collective bargaining agreement extension continues to buzz. Most tenuous of all, Stanley Cup odds have already started to surface.

Overall Chances

According to BetMGM, an online sports betting company, Colorado Avalanche are the favorites to win. Close behind are Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights, on equal footing, followed up by the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals. The Winnipeg Jets qualify for a range of middle-ground contenders, but just barely, coming in at 22nd.

Pushing the Odds

Despite where the Jets sit in terms of odds currently, the new year promises nothing if not the unknown. Between now and the start of the season, outside factors will most likely shift circumstances and favors in unpredictable ways.

Something that can be said as a certainty, however, is that resilience and hard work are traits that will always be valued in the sport and are traits that will be sorely needed in the coming months for NHL players. A team that can lean on its most valuable players for consistency and perseverance when its mettle is tested, in and out of the game, is a team that will succeed.

 

 

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