Jets weighing their options
Cheveldayoff kicks tires on deal
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has been meeting with GMs around the league. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)
ST. PAUL, MINN. - A Chicago connection led to a big deal between the Blackhawks and Florida Panthers, but did it nearly lead to a trade with the Winnipeg Jets?
While Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff did have a few discussions with former boss Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks GM, nothing really materialized — at least not yet.
“Stan and I chatted on a couple of things, but Stan had some big things on the go that were maybe a little bit not in the direction I was looking at at this point in time,” said Cheveldayoff. “We had some good conversations, they gave me some good support along the way and we had a good couple of laughs.
“We’ll have to wait for our first Chicago-Winnipeg deal.”
Bowman and the Blackhawks were able to unload the contract of defenceman Brian Campbell in a trade with the Panthers (whose GM Dale Tallon was the GM of the ’Hawks before he was replaced by Bowman) and moved winger Troy Brouwer to the Washington Capitals for a first round pick on Friday.
Cheveldayoff said he had a number of “feeling out” discussions with other GMs who were trying to gauge where things were at in terms of the Jets’ roster.
However, Cheveldayoff would neither confirm nor deny a report that the Jets were among the teams that kicked the tires on Kenora product Mike Richards before the Los Angeles Kings acquired the former Philadelphia Flyers captain in a package deal that included former Brandon Wheat Kings centre Brayden Schenn.
One published report said the Flyers were looking for a package that included Evander Kane, Winnipeg’s first round pick (seventh overall on Friday) and possibly second-year centre and 2010 first-rounder Alexander Burmistrov.
We’re guessing that conversation was a brief one, but Cheveldayoff wasn’t willing to shed any light on it.
“You know what, I’m not going to discuss anything we may or may not have been in,” said Cheveldayoff.
IRONING IT OUT: The Jets are still working on which prospects tournament they’ll play in this fall before training camp officially gets underway.
The Atlanta Thrashers had planned to play in one with the Florida Panthers but reports say the Jets’ preference is to take part in the one in Penticton, B.C. that includes the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, among others.
“That’s still in the works but we’ll definitely be part of one of them,” said Cheveldayoff.
Unlike most NHL teams, the Jets won’t hold a prospects camp for the draft picks and other prospects in the system this summer.
UP NEXT: Monday is the deadline for the Jets to send out qualifying offers to their restricted free agents.
Cheveldayoff and vice president of hockey operations Craig Heisinger will spend much of this week preparing for free agency, which opens Friday.
Head coach Claude Noel will likely be working on filling out his coaching staff, while the coaching staff for the Jets’ American Hockey League in St. John’s, Nfld., will also require some attention.
You can cross one of the potential candidates off the AHL list as Kirk Muller accepted the job as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday.
Muller spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens and was considered for Winnipeg’s head coaching job, though he didn’t make the short list or interview for the job.
Gary Agnew, who worked with Noel as an assistant with the Columbus Blue Jackets, could emerge as a candidate for St. John’s or potentially as an NHL assistant but he’s also one of the finalists for a head coaching job with the Houston Aeros.