Chevy keeping ears open

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:08 AM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - When it comes to whom Winnipeg might select in the first round of Friday’s 2011 NHL Entry Draft, let’s just say Kevin Cheveldayoff is keeping his options — along with his ears — wide open.

The general manager of Winnipeg’s NHL franchise made it clear when meeting reporters on Wednesday that his phone line is open and he’s expecting to field and make numerous calls to explore several avenues.

“There’s been some managers that have started to call to talk, not just about that spot but everything in general,” said Cheveldayoff. “Spots, players, what are you looking for? Are you willing to move? It’s been a much more active day when it comes to those kind of conversations.”

You can expect those conversations to pick up as well.

“There’s lots of things that happen on the floor that you have to make quick decisions on,” said Cheveldayoff. “We’re going to spend some time with the pro (scouting) staff (Thursday) talking about our roster and our future formation and where we want to go, where we sit it at this point and time, so that if anything does happen on the draft floor from a trade perspective that we’re ready and prepared to act.”

Is it conceivable Winnipeg could find a way to move up the draft board?

“Some of the teams we’ve talked to certainly are above us,” said Cheveldayoff. “Do we have the opportunity, do we have the want to do that? We’ll see. You have to be somewhat fluid on how you want to approach these things.

“If my staff says to me, ‘we have to get this guy’ then we’re going to make every effort we possibly can to get him.”

As for who Winnipeg might select in the first round, it’s really just an educated guessing game at this point — since this draft is pretty wide open and Winnipeg currently holds the seventh pick.

“There’s lots of different scenarios and you have to be prepared for all of them,” said Cheveldayoff. “You talk about a lot of different guys and why one guy is ahead of the other. Why one guy trended a certain way. You’ve got forwards and defencemen you’re looking at. Obviously, there’s lots of different combinations that come into play.”

“We’re looking for someone that is going to make an impact in this organization. Whether it’s a forward or a defenceman, that will work itself out over time. At pick No. 7, you’re looking for a guy who is going to be part of this franchise for many years to come. At this point and time, you’re not controlling your own destiny as to who falls into that position and you just have to be ready for it.”

Cheveldayoff has been in Minneapolis since Monday night and spent Tuesday hunkering down with his scouts, laying out the list of players who are on the radar.

“We had a meeting (Tuesday) with the amateur guys, just to get to know them and (Wednesday) we spent most of the day going over the list and familiarizing ourselves with the thought process that went into the formation of our list,” said Cheveldayoff.

Cheveldayoff also revealed True North held interviews with Niagara Ice Dogs defenceman and Swedish centre Mika Zibanejad, who played for Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League last season and that the team plans to meet with another eight or so players in preparation for Friday’s first round selection.

Winnipeg currently holds nine picks and it will be interesting to see if they come away with that number of players come the end of Saturday.

“It’s tough to say,” said Cheveldayoff, whose squad doesn’t hold a second round selection as of right now. “We have multiples in several rounds and sometimes you use those to move up, sometimes you use them in the acquisition of a player.”


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