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Pavs signed, now for the other items on Chevy's to-do list

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IT is a to-do list that is forever changing, always evolving and never, ever completed.

That's life as a NHL GM and it's no different for Winnipeg Jets boss Kevin Cheveldayoff, who scratched "Sign Ondrej Pavelec" off his list of tasks, then stared down at a long stretch of items still to be completed.

Among the prominent ones for the rest of this week:

-- Continue negotiations with restricted free agent Evander Kane, the team's leading goal scorer last year. His agent said Tuesday there's nothing new to report and Cheveldayoff provided this Monday:

"Every negotiation takes its own course. We're hopeful we'll come to an agreement with Evander in relatively short order."

-- Chat with the agents for any of the unrestricted free agents he'd like to have back who are set to hit the market July 1. The entire list includes goaltender Chris Mason, forwards Kyle Wellwood, Tanner Glass and Tim Stapleton and defencemen Randy Jones and Mark Flood. Netminder Jonas Gustavsson, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional seventh-round pick last Saturday, is also scheduled to become a UFA this weekend.

-- Decide whether the Jets want to be in the bidding for University of Wisconsin defenceman Justin Schultz. He declined to sign a deal with the Anaheim Ducks and is now free to listen to offers from potential suitors before signing as early as July 1.

A Kelowna, B.C., product, Schultz is being touted as a blue-chip, NHL-ready prospect. The Edmonton Oilers, who have defensive needs, are said to be a leading suitor, as are the Vancouver Canucks, who did not make qualifying offers to Aaron Rome and Marc-Andre Gragnani, prompting speculation they were freeing up cap space for a run at Schultz.

Cheveldayoff, for what it's worth, called Schultz a "very interesting player."

-- Gear up for the opening of the free-agent market on Sunday. The Jets had their pro scouting staff with them at the draft in Pittsburgh last week to discuss some players who might be available by the weekend, and those talks will carry over to next month.

As he has stated from the day he was hired, Cheveldayoff prefers to build the Jets through the draft. That doesn't mean the team won't be in the bidding for players this weekend, but it's hard to imagine them chasing the big-ticket stars like Ryan Suter or Zach Parise.

Here's Cheveldayoff, stressing again the organizational's take on free agency:

"The proper way to approach it is you can't expect to build this team through free agency and free agency alone. This past weekend with the draft and with last year's draft, we're taking steps toward dealing with acquiring assets and young building blocks. By signing Ondrej Pavelec to a five-year deal, we're locking in one of the building blocks."

Asked if the team would "kick the tires" on any player in free agency, Cheveldayoff added:

"We're not really a team that's tire-kickers. If we're interested in a player, at whatever level it is, we'll make a serious effort to make it happen or try to make it happen."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 27, 2012 D1

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