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Winnipeg Jets sign Nikolaj Ehlers to seven-year, $42-million extension

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers drives out of the corner as Ottawa Senators' Dion Phaneuf defends during an NHL preseason game in Winnipeg on Wednesday, September 27, 2017.

JOHN WOODS/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms on a $42-million, seven-year contract extension with forward Nikolaj Ehlers on Wednesday.

The extension begins a year from now and carries an average annual value of $6 million, the Jets said in a release.

"This team, this organization, this city ... from Day 1 I was happy here," Ehlers said before the Jets opened their season against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. "It's amazing playing in front of all these fans. Winnipeg as a city is amazing, they love their hockey, so I could not see any reason to not want to stay here tong-term."

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Ehlers, 21, had 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) in 82 games for the Jets last season. The six-foot 172-pound native of Aalborg, Denmark had 38 points (15-23) in his rookie season.

Ehlers, the ninth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, is a key part of the Jets' young core with Calder Trophy runner-up Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele.

"As Nik's linemate and good buddy, it's awesome to see a nice guy like that get rewarded," Laine said. "''Nik's going to be a leader for this team for many years."

"He can play both wings, he can play with different centres, he's made a huge jump from the end of last year," added Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

Winnipeg missed the playoffs last season after finishing fifth in the Central Division with 87 points.

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