The Jets tried to get Samberg, a second-round pick in 2017, signed last summer, but he opted to return to the University of Minnesota Duluth for his junior season. He even considered going back again for his senior year so he could become an unrestricted free agent and sign with any team.
"You think about that stuff," he said Tuesday, according to Sportsnet's Sean Reynolds.
The Jets haven't had much success luring big-name free agents to Winnipeg. With the exception of Mathieu Perreault, every skater on the roster signed for next season at over $1 million was either homegrown or acquired via trade. The organization prides itself on keeping its own talent, which makes the Samberg signing all the more important, especially with the team's depleted defense corps. Winnipeg lost Jacob Trouba, Dustin Byfuglien (presumably), Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot within the last year.
A clear path to the NHL was part of Samberg's decision to sign.
"I know there’s a lot of opportunity up there which I’m really excited for," he said. "I felt like this is what I wanted to do."
Josh Morrissey and Neal Pionk are locks for the team's back end next season. Tucker Poolman's job is likely safe as well, and deadline rental Dylan DeMelo could potentially be re-signed. Depending on what Winnipeg does this offseason, it could be a battle for the final two or three blue-line spots between youngsters Samberg, Ville Heinola, Logan Stanley, and Sami Niku.