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This article was published 25/6/2012 (1434 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Jets landed seven players over the weekend, six picks for the future from the NHL's entry draft in Pittsburgh and a Saturday trade that adds immediate intrigue to the club's goaltending makeup.
The team's much-anticipated first pick on Friday was defenceman Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Development Team, and headlining Saturday's five selections was centre Lukas Sutter, former NHLer Rich Sutter's son, from the Saskatoon Blades, taken early in the second round.
Saturday also saw Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff swing into action with a trade. He acquired the rights to 27-year-old netminder Jonas Gustavsson, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.
The price was a seventh-round draft pick next June if the Jets sign the Swede, who was courted by multiple NHL teams during the summer of 2009 when he decided to come to North America.
Cheveldayoff has both 2011-12 goalies headed for free agency this week -- No. 1 man Ondrej Pavelec becomes a restricted free agent and backup Chris Mason becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Talks with both men have begun but don't appear to be proceeding smoothly.
Pavelec's camp is looking for four years and major money, something like $17 million. Mason said last week he wants to stay in Winnipeg but the team hinted loudly over the weekend those discussions aren't going well.
Injecting Gustavsson into the mix certainly gives Cheveldayoff leverage, though he protested on Saturday that the trade has nothing to do with Pavelec's situation.
"Totally separate from this," Cheveldayoff said. "We're going to sign two guys and get that done.
"This is more an opportunity to be able to talk to a UFA person before the July 1 deadline."
It's unlikely Gustavsson-Mason is the tandem he's got in mind for next season, but at least the GM has a better goaltending chart, even for a few days, than he did on Friday.
"It just gives us an opportunity to talk to someone that is potentially an unrestricted free agent," Cheveldayoff said. "So is Mason. When you get this chance to speak with someone, you can evaluate all your options.
"(Gustavsson) is a big goaltender, very athletic. He's only had (three) years over here. Again, he's an intriguing opportunity to talk to.
"It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to get him signed."
In his three seasons with the Leafs, Gustavsson failed to be the saviour in goal that many projected. He had a stint in the AHL in 2010-11, then played 42 games for Toronto last season and went 17-17-4.
At the end of the season, the club had clearly decided Manitoba product James Reimer was their No. 1 man.
"He (Gustavsson) saved our butts last year during the season at times, he played some real good hockey for us," Leafs GM Brian Burke said. "I think it's time for us as an organization to move on, I think it's time for him to move on. Winnipeg approached us and said they want to sign him as a backup goaltender."
Among their draft selections, the Jets turned to one of Canada's iconic hockey families for a gritty prospect who's said to possess the Sutter sandpaper.
"I don't think it's really registered for either of us," Lukas Sutter said Saturday, his dad standing nearby. "I think he's just as excited as I am."
When did Rich know his son might have the right stuff?
"The biggest thing is his passion," the 13-year NHL veteran said. "He's a very passionate kid. To be around his uncles and his dad, not a lot has to be said. He's been taught a lot along the way. The biggest thing is I really believe in my heart, if you want something bad enough and you stay grounded, good things will happen to those kinds of people. He's done a good job at that."
Lukas, heading for his third season with the WHL's Blades, said it was difficult to ignore the buzz coming out of Winnipeg during the city's first season back in the NHL.
"Unbelievable," he said. "It's one of the best hockey markets in the game, something that I'm extremely excited about."
2012 draft picks
1 (9) Jacob Trouba, D, 18, US NDT
2 (39) Lukas Sutter, C, 18, Saskatoon (WHL)
3 (70) Scott Kosmachuk, RW, 18, Guelph (OHL)
5 (130) Connor Hellebuyck, G, 19, Odessa (NAHL)
6 (160) Scott Olsen, C, 18, Saskatoon (WHL)
7 (190) Jamie Phillips, G, 19, Toronto (OJHL)
By Position: Centre 2, RW 1, Defencemen 1, Goalie 2.
By Nationality: Canada 4 (including Sutter, who was born in St. Louis), U.S. 2.
By Height: Below six-foot 1; above six-foot, 5.
By Weight: 170-180 1; 181-190 4; 190-200, none; above 200 1.
Right shots: 3
Left shots: 3: (including 2 goalies)
1993 birthdays: 3
1994 birthdays: 3