Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Time for Jets' scouts to relax

Can kick back, reap rewards of hard work

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NEW YORK -- The Winnipeg Jets have stockpiled 10 picks in the 2013 NHL Draft, tied for the most among their rivals with Buffalo, Los Angeles and Nashville.

Now the question is, will director of amateur scouting Marcel Comeau and the scouting staff hear 10 different names called out by his boss Kevin Cheveldayoff, or will some of them be moved?

Jets Scores

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WINNIPEG PICKS

Round 1: 13th

Round 2: 43rd, 59th, 61st

Round 3: 74th, 91st

Round 4: 104th

Round 5: 134th

Round 6: None (164th traded to Pittsburgh for Eric Tangradi)

Round 7: 190th, 194th

Prepared

"My staff, I told them to be prepared in the event we don't use them," said Cheveldayoff.

"They're all good about it. When the phone rings and you're on there with someone and (Jets' scouts) hear a third- or a fourth- or a fifth- (round pick), they're not paying attention as much.

"They hear second or they hear first and it's like they have to strain their neck a little bit.

"They're invested in making this organization better. They're the ones, on the amateur side, they don't get to watch the Jets play 82 times. They're out on the rinks, they're out pounding the pavement, going through the snowstorms to try and find that player that is going to put us over the top. That needs to be respected.

"We're very focussed on working to keep our RFAs and working to build through the draft to develop an organization that is strong and has lots of depth. It starts right here."

The Jets have their first-round pick, 13th overall, and three in the second round -- their own at 43rd, a compensatory pick at 59 for not signing 2008 first-rounder Daultan Leveille and the 61st choice as part of the deal that sent Johnny Oduya to Chicago at the trade deadline in 2012.

"It's been a lot of work, but this is a day you look forward to," said Comeau. "Right now everybody's got a smile on their face, all the work we've put in is just around the corner and we're going to get something for it.

"We're all in this together, we all want to see this team get better as soon as we can, so whatever pieces we can add is all for the good as far as I'm concerned. Our job is to acquire assets for management to manage."

Hailed

This draft is being hailed as among the deepest and best in over a decade, drawing comparisons to the star-studded lot of 2003 that included Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry.

Comeau, like a lot of NHL types, figures there are at least five players who are NHL-ready right now.

"It's really good," Comeau said. "There's going to be some really good players who go in the second round, and as you go deeper into the draft, players (will) need more development time and have a couple more warts than some of the guys who went in front of them.

"There's a lot of scouts saying this (draft) is the best in quite awhile."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 30, 2013 B3

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