May 28, 2015


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Richards shopped to Jets before deal to L.A.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Getting up to speed in the NHL has been no gradual process for the new Winnipeg Jets, who were being shopped former Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards of Kenora earlier in the week.

Even before they had their name, Jets management was considering inquiries from the Flyers. Separate sources have confirmed the Flyers were looking for Evander Kane, Friday night’s first-round pick that turned into Mark Scheifele and another key element of the Jets roster, quite possibly Alexander Burmistrov, for Richards.

After some consideration, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff decided not to pursue that offer/discussion.

Richards was shopped widely and on Thursday was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for hot prospect Brayden Schenn formerly of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Wayne Simmonds and a second-round pick.

Today at the second through seventh rounds of the NHL entry draft, the Jets have eight picks over the six rounds.

That leaves open the distinct possibility that some deals could be in play, especially picks for players or picks for picks down the road.

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Earlier this week, True North chairman and Jets governor Mark Chipman confirmed he’ll be taking on a new title with the new NHL team but that title has yet to be determined.

Chipman has decided to devote his full-time efforts to the hockey club from this point forward.

Though constantly involved, he did not devote 100 per cent of his time to operating the IHL’s and AHL’s Manitoba Moose as he was still involved with his family’s other businesses.

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The Montreal Canadiens might not be as fired up as the Jets and their fans will be for next season’s opening game, Oct. 9 at the MTS Centre, the first regular-season NHL game in Winnipeg since 1996.

But Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin is very much looking forward to it.

"Great to be the opponent for your return of NHL hockey," Martin told the Free Press this week. "The history and tradition of the franchise makes it special."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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