Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bogosian's key, Chevy says

Jets GM dispels the trade talk, wants young D-man long-term

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It wasn't a declaration, but more of a memo from Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to his rivals in the biz and NHL rumour-mongers everywhere:

Back off on the Bogosian-trade talk, s'il vous plait...

"I can't really speak to what happened last year with respect to rumours, nor will I speak to any rumours regarding our team moving forward," Cheveldayoff said. "What I can speak about is Zach is a tremendous kid. He's a very young defenceman, and anyone who follows the game knows that defencemen mature at a different rate than other players.

"I had the fortune of having Zach on my team with the (Chicago) Wolves for about a week on a conditioning assignment when he was 18 and he was head and shoulders above everyone else out there when he was 18 years old.

The best is in front of a lot of these players, and we're going to get a chance to watch them and hopefully (they) grow in front of our eyes.

"Bogosian, for me, is someone that I hope to build our defence around," Cheveldayoff added. "In this game there are never any certainties, but what is certain is he is a 21-year-old defenceman that was drafted very, very high with lots of talent. For our organization, I hope he's someone that's here for a long, long time."

Cheveldayoff said he spoke with Bogosian's agent Monday and still hopes to get a deal done on a new contract. He is a restricted free agent, but was not eligible to file for arbitration prior to Tuesday afternoon's deadline.

The lone Jet who did file was forward Blake Wheeler, although the Jets are trying to get his name on a new deal as well.

"As of (Tuesday) morning, we had great conversations with Blake's representative and the fact he filed for salary arbitration doesn't mean much at this point in time," Cheveldayoff said. "We have a lot of time to get a deal done there."

In all, 23 NHLers filed for arbitration, the most notable being Josh Gorges (Montreal), Andrew Cogliano (Edmonton), Sergei Kostitsyn (Nashville), Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky (New York Rangers) and Jannik Hansen (Vancouver).

NEW COACH/NEW DIVISION: The Jets' AHL affiliate in St. John's should name Keith McCambridge as head coach sometime this week and the league announced Tuesday the squad had changed divisions now that it has relocated to Newfoundland from Manitoba.

The yet-to-be-named team will play in the Atlantic Division along with Manchester, Portland, Providence and Worcester.

LADD LEFTOVERS: Jets' new captain Andrew Ladd is admittedly fired up about playing in the team's first game against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 9.

"To say I haven't been thinking about our first game next year and what the atmosphere in that rink is going to be like, I'd be lying," he said. "It's been on my mind a lot and something that's driving the excitement in my life."

Asked if it was more exciting that his impending wedding -- taking place next week in Las Vegas -- Ladd chuckled.

"You're right," he said. "I should probably say that. I guess I got caught up in it... It's all gone by pretty fast."

And here is Ladd on the topic of what kind of reputation Winnipeg might have with all those players still seeking a new home and how his signing might change that perception: "It's maybe a bit like Buffalo, in terms of getting a bad rap. But the players who get the opportunity to play there love it and want to make it their home."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2011 D2

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