Winnipeg – Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is renowned for his penchant to respond to a direct question with an indirect answer. And Tuesday afternoon Cheveldayoff was at his evasive best when it came to providing any kind of clarity on who the team will take with the second overall pick in next weeks NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, or if there is any substance to rumors regarding possible trade talks involving defenceman Jacob Trouba.
Cheveldayoff countered every inquiry about Patrik Laine, with a glowing response about Auston Matthews and Jesse Puljujarvi, the other two top rated prospects of the Class of 2016. “There was a lot of reference to the three players mentioned in the same breath, I think, all the time,” said Cheveldayoff. “That if you were fortunate enough, I guess it was a fortuitous year that you had the opportunity to win the lottery and get into these picks- first- second- or third.”
Cheveldayoff did say he and the organization have their mind set on who they’ll take at number two, expected to be Laine after Toronto selects Matthews first overall.
The Jets GM did share a snippet of information on the 22nd overall pick obtained from Chicago in the Andrew Ladd trade. Cheveldayoff said the organization has managed to bolster their ranks with forward prospects so they might be leaning towards a left shot defenceman to fill a positional need. And of course, he is willing to listen to offers for that pick, or the Jets early second round selection at number 36. “If there’s a viable position that can be filled because of using a draft pick, we’d certainly be open to it,” said Cheveldayoff. “But our focus right now is drafting, being prepared and that our list is as solid as it needs to be.”
Cheveldayoff somewhat dismissed the rumors that have been swirling about defenceman Jacob Trouba being on the trading block because of his reported asking price of an 8 year deal worth 56 million dollars. “I’ve seen lots of different scenarios out there of teams that are pushing hard that i haven’t even heard from. I’ve talked to different teams that asked different questions that I’ve certainly asked myself,” said Cheveldayoff. “In this game there’s a distinct possibility that anybody can get traded. But trying to trade him, no.”
Cheveldayoff says he doesn’t favor two year “bridge deals” over longer term “cost certainty” type contracts for pending restricted free agents like Trouba, Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, Joel Armia, and Michael Hutchinson because “there’s an element of risk on the team side for either one of them.”
Didn’t exactly answer the question, did it?