WINNIPEG - With Ondrej Pavelec signed on the bottom line, Kevin Cheveldayoff is turning his attention to another restrictred free agent, sniper Evander Kane.
Cheveldayoff had productive meetings with Kane’s representatives during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, but there is still plenty of work to be done to get a deal done for the team’s only 30-goal scorer last season.
“Certainly, there’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done and behind the scenes there’s lots of work that is ongoing with Evander’s basis and others on a parallel basis as well,” the Jets general manager said Monday during a conference call.
The Jets will also continue negotiations to get their backup goalie signed.
Cheveldayoff wasn’t willing to share anything on how negotiations were going with either Chris Mason or Jonas Gustavsson, both of whom become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
“We’ll see how everything transpires,” said Cheveldayoff.
FEHR AN OPTION
Winkler product Eric Fehr didn’t receive a qualifying offer on Monday, but he hasn’t been ruled out as an option to play for the Jets next season.
“We certainly thought long and hard about different approaches that come into play,” said Cheveldayoff. “When you make a qualifying offer, you must offer what the player made last year and we made a decision that we weren’t going to do that.
“That’s not to say Eric Fehr is not someone we are considering with respect to our organization. We’ve met with his representatives and told them the same.
“He’ll have opportunities to look around, but he’s not someone who is ruled out of the equation.
Fehr, who was the first player acquired by Cheveldayoff and was projected to be a Top-6 forward with the Jets, becomes an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with anyone on July 1.
However, if a better option isn’t available to him, Fehr might decide to give it another shot with his hometown team — most likely at a significant pay cut from the $2.2 million he made the past two seasons.
Although Fehr never really got in the good books of head coach Claude Noel, he’s going to have a full summer of training under him and will be determined to show he has plenty left to contribute.
The only other players to not receive qualifying offers from the Jets were forwards Mike Forney, Frederick Pettersson and defenceman John Negrin.
As highly touted free agent defenceman Justin Schultz became a free agent, Cheveldayoff gave no indication he had or will be scheduling a meeting with Newport Sports to discuss the prospects of Schultz joining the Jets.
“He is certainly someone who is a very interesting player and it’s something we’ll keep internally right now, until a later date,” said Cheveldayoff.
Schultz, a second round pick (43rd overall) of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Schultz had 83 assists and 113 points in 121 games during his three seasons with the Wisconsin, including 16 goals and 44 points in 37 games in 2011-12.