Set for takeoff with the Jets, Bongiovanni signs NHL entry-level contract


Photo: Kaylyn Terry

Clever Streich

Questions filled the air regarding the future of Wyatt Bongiovanni ‘22 after the Bobcats’ elimination from the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Was Quinnipiac’s captain up for a fifth year in Hamden?   

Now we finally have an answer, one from the “Great White North”. The Winnipeg Jets announced on Saturday that Bongiovanni has signed a two-year, entry-level contract at a $802,500 annual value at the NHL level, with the deal beginning in 2022-23. For the remainder of the 2021-22 season, Bongiovanni will report to Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, on an amateur tryout contract.

Despite the graduate season returns of Zach Metsa, Ethan De Jong, Michael Lombardi, Desi Burgart, and TJ Friedmann, Bongiovanni has accepted an offer to take his game to the pros, ending his run at Quinnipiac with 123 career games played over four seasons, and 90 points scored.

Bongiovanni made the most of his final season with the Bobcats by tallying a career-high 34 points in 42 games played, ranking second on the team in overall scoring and leading the team in goals with 16. 

He served as the 48th captain in program history, succeeding Odeen Tufto ‘20, who in turn graduated from Quinnipiac in 2021 by inking a deal with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bongiovanni also received several accolades during the 2021-22 season, as he most recently became the first player in program history to be named a Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American for his leadership qualities both on and off the ice. The Jets’ newest prospect was also named to the 2022 All-ECAC Third Team and was a 2019 All-ECAC Rookie team selection.

For Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, the departure of Bongiovanni will create an opening for a new top-line faceoff-driven center down the middle. Bongiovani was the fifth best faceoff taker in the NCAA this season, winning 58.3% of his draws.

In a situation similar to the 2021 offseason with Tufto, Pecknold may need veterans like Friedmann or Skyler Brind’Amour to step further into the spotlight upon puck drop next year, with the program retooling for another shot at an NCAA tournament berth.

Only time will tell if Bongiovanni will be able to soar in his jump to professional hockey. If he can make it to the Jets’ main roster, Bongiovanni would become the tenth player in program history to skate in the NHL, and the first since Chase Priskie ‘19.