The Winnipeg Jets are pleased to announce they have agreed to terms on a five-year extension to the current NHL contract of defenceman Toby Enstrom. As per club policy, details of the extension were not disclosed.
Enstrom was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the eighth round, 239th overall, in the 2003 NHL Draft.
“I’ve been on this team for a long time now,” said Enstrom in a conference call from his home in Sweden today. “The move to Winnipeg was fun and it feels like we have a good thing going on. I really like playing in front of all the fans in that city and it made me want to stay. I’m really happy I came to agreement with the Winnipeg Jets.
“I like our defense, I like our goaltending, I like everything about this team. That’s one of the reason’s I signed. I believe in this team, and I think this year coming up is really important for us.”
Enstrom who turns 28 in October, happened to be in Winnipeg earlier this month for a charity golf tournament, which is when talks began, said Jets’ General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff in a conference call this afternoon.
“We had the opportunity to sit down with him, his agent, Mark Chipman and my management staff,” said Cheveldayoff. “We began the process at that point in time and it very clear from the onset that both sides were very interested in creating a long-term relationship.”
Chevy mentioned that the intention was always to sign Enstrom to a long-term deal before he would become a free agent after next season and that he values what he brings to the organization both on and off the ice.
“Toby is an extremely smart hockey player that can advance the puck out of the zone with great efficiency,” he said. “He is also a player from the offensive side of it is able to create offensive plays and move the puck to the forwards both from the defensive zone and offensive zone. He does provide a tremendous amount of flexibility and he is extremely committed to wanting to win.”
Enstrom appeared in 62 games last season as an assistant captain with the Jets. An early season shoulder injury forced him to miss over two months of hockey, but he quickly proved that he had the drive and determination to get back to full strength. He finished the year with 33 points (6G, 27A) and was second in scoring amongst the team’s defencemen.
“We saw how hard he worked off the ice to get back and to become a healthy player again to get back in the lineup as quickly as he could,” said Chevy. “He’s a quality person both on and off the ice and we’re really excited about the relationship moving forward.”
The native of Nordingra, Sweden is the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise leader amongst defencemen in games played (380 – sixth most overall), points (204 – fourth overall), and assists (172 – third overall).
His 32 career goals are one shy of former Manitoba Moose Yannick Tremblay for most goals by a defenceman in franchise history. He has averaged 23:32 time on ice per game which leaves him second in franchise history behind teammate Dustin Byfuglien. He still holds the franchise single-season record for most assists by a defenceman with 44 in 2009-10.
“We see him continuing to get better in a lot of different areas,” said Chevy. “He feels very, very comfortable with his surroundings in Winnipeg and on this team. On the ice, we believe there is room for growth within his game. I feel the injury really set him back last year the way it happened early in the season and it was difficult at times for him to get back into the rhythm. But again, he is someone that has incredible hockey sense that skates very well and plays the game the way we want to continue to play.”
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