December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
NEWARK, NJ — There’s an old saying in sports that seems perfectly a propos when describing the Winnipeg Jets handiwork at the 2013 NHL Draft:
‘Any jackass can tear down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.’
The Jets didn’t pull off a blockbuster on draft day — that was left to the Vancouver Canucks, who shipped Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall pick — but they did get busy filling a hole on their current roster and restocking their prospect shelves.
Winnipeg made 10 picks and two trades on Sunday, one deal for more draft choices, but the other to acquire winger Michael Frolik from the Chicago Blackhawks for two draft selections. (To read about Joshua Morrissey and some of the other picks, please check out our other stories on winnipegfreepress.com).
"It’s an extremely big day for us with the number of picks we had coming in, with the opportunity to pick up a National Hockey League player," said Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. "We accomplished an awful lot of different things today — at least in our mind. Now, obviously, the drafting side is done and the developing side begins."
Here are Cheveldayoff’s thoughts on some of their work on Sunday:
The Jets used their first pick to select Prince Albert defenceman Joshua Morrissey. He put up big offensive numbers last year (15G, 32A) and has been likened to Gary Suter and Niklas Kronwall.
"He’s a player that possesses a lot of things that we really like in a defenceman in the way the game is played right now. A great skater, good hockey sense, can move the puck and has a little bit of an edge. He has the elements we think it takes to play at the National Hockey League and be an impact player on defence.
"He’s a real character kid, real genuine, hard-working... I just can’t say enough about those aspects. That’s all part of it, though. The interview process comes into play but it’s his play on the ice that speaks for itself."
Cheveldayoff on whether Frolik steps into the RW spot on the second line:
"I think we’ll still keep looking. That opportunity can be taken by him or we go and get someone else. We don’t anoint where players play, they’re play dictates where they’ll play."
The Jets traded their 61st draft pick to Washington for picks 84, 114, and 127, essentially replacing the two they gave up in the Frolik deal. The Jets entered the draft with 10 picks and, after the two trades, still exited with 10.
"He was ranked extremely high on a lot of lists. Size is probably something where you look and go, ‘Huh....’ But his hockey sense, his competitiveness, his ability to make other players better, the way he sees the ice... he’s a real fun player to watch and when you talk to other players a real fun player to play with."
"A very technically sound goaltender. Unfortunately, he had some injuries later on in the year, but a real student of the game and a real workhorse for his team prior to his injuries. He’s someone that (Jets goaltender coach) Wade Flaherty has had an opportunity to see and he was very, very high on this player."
"There’s lots of rumours out there. I can’t get into it too, too much. I guess if it’s choice of his where he does want to go play in Russia I can’t compete with that. We’ll continue to negotiate and continue to see how it goes from that point on."
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