Kevin Cheveldayoff sat down to do a bit of a state of the team discussion with Pierre LeBrun of TSN. While there are no direct quotes, there were some interesting, if very Chevy, things said during the conversation.
First of all, Cheveldayoff started off talking about how they had to build both a prospect pool and a player pool when the team moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg. He is absolutely correct in this statement, but there has been few talented pieces added, which was what the Thrashers needed at the time. The only except for this outside of draft picks who made the Jets (and they do count because of the prospect pool) is Mathieu Perreault.
When it comes to the draft and draft picks in general, Cheveldayoff does not prepare like the Jets have or do not have a lottery pick until after the draft lottery because a lot can change in one night. As for this year’s draft, he thinks it will be a good draft to have a pick in the teens because he thinks there will be not a lot of consensus and teams will pick who they like where they are drafting. That said, he is open to trading the Jets first round pick if there is a good trade for the Jets because they have had four first round picks in the past two years. They have the young players to make a move like this possible all of a sudden.
LeBrun brought up the fact that the Jets need more help up front, which they might need one or two players more if they want to play a top nine, bottom three set up, but in general the greater need is on defence. However, Cheveldayoff did say that Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine, and other good, young players are not available as long as they remain contributors. As for trades in general, as long as the move is right for the Jets and their long-term vision, it is possible while maintaining the pipeline. However, there will be no trades for the sake of making trades.
When it comes to goaltending, it seems like the plan is to stick with Connor Hellebuyck as the starter. They chose to give him as year of experience before he became waiver eligible and thought he performed well. Of course he referenced the fact he was 15th in the NHL in wins with 26 and had four shutouts, so it appears that Cheveldayoff is evaluating goalies based on wins. However, he will look at who is available and go from there because they can add some more depth to the organization this offseason.
When it came to the defence, he spoke highly of how Josh Morrissey came into camp and performed from day one. This praise is well deserved. On the other hand, he said Tyler Myers is still rehabbing from his hip surgery and they are hoping that goes well. He also wants to try and sign Jacob Trouba long term because Trouba and Mark Scheifele are who the Jets built around. When it came to Tucker Poolman, Cheveldayoff explained that they wanted to sign him last year and he is a bit older, but they see a future in him as he is a smooth-skating defenceman. He is also currently rehabbing from double shoulder surgery.
Next the discussion turned to how the Jets core has changed during the time in Winnipeg. It used to be Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Andrew Ladd, Brian Little, and Blake Wheeler instead of Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrisey, Patrik Laine, and Nikolaj Ehlers. The transition started with Scheifele and Trouba and will continue to move forward in this fashion.
Finally, the status of Paul Maurice: no there have been no talks of an extension, but it sounds like Maurice is very much in future plans as he helped shape the long-term vision of the organization and was in meeting where they discussed needs for the Jets future success. Cheveldayoff mentioned that there was a lot of trust there already between the two men and that should probably help them going forward.
All in all, not a lot was said that has not already been mentioned, but the part about not looking for a starting goalie was kind of surprising and there is finally some clarity on the fact that Maurice does not have a contract waiting yet.
You can watch the full interview here.