Evander Kane was right: he is a Winnipeg Jet ‘for now’ as he said earlier this week to a Vancouver radio station.
And, according to Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff ‘now’ could be for long stretches of the forseeable future.
Cheveldayoff was asked about his star winger’s vague answer today at the conclusion of the Jets’ Development Camp and - not surprisingly - would not fan any of the trade-rumour flames.
"It’s very difficult right now in hockey," began Cheveldayoff. "You’ve got the draft and all the different things like free agency that come up and as you guys all know, there’s rumours that abound each and every day that send everyone in different directions. I can only imagine as a player what goes through your mind when you hear, ‘So and so’s being traded and different things like that.’ It’s got to be difficult. They’re all professional hockey players and they’re all subject to those kind of things. Even when you have your general manager like I’ve been saying, I’m open to look to see if there’s ways to make improvements on this team. Without singling out any individual everyone starts to wonder what’s going on.
"With specific reference to Evander and the situation where he was asked those questions, I think he’s been asked those questions year after year after year since he’s been here and certainly since the time he’s signed the contract.
"So, Evander is a Winnipeg Jet. What I took from his comments, is he’s excited about being healthy and training this summer and really looking forward to having a solid summer of training. He had some minor surgery last year that derailed some of the training side of things."
Asked if he’d like to hear Kane said that he is happy to be a Jet, Cheveldayoff said:
"You look at the circumstances or situations that surround it: if you’re name was brought up with rumours each and every day, you’d have to maybe start to wonder where things are at. Evander’s a professional and I expect that when he comes here for training camp he’s going to be at the peak of his performance."
Cheveldayoff would not answer directly questions about whether Kane has asked to be traded.
"I have lots of conversations with lots of players all the time," he said. "When you’re behind closed doors and having conversations, be it with a coach, be it with a trainer, be it with a manager... lots of things are said and will remain in house.
"The hard part about questions like that, and I was asked that question at the draft as well and I responded that it was an unfair question... what I mean about that is if I answer every question about every rumour, every speculation that a may or may not have asked something or may or may not have said something, I’d be answering those all day long.
"Evander Kane is a Winnipeg Jet and that’s how we’re going forward."