NHL draft day: do the Jets have currency to move up?


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FORT LAUDERDALE – It can be a day filled with wheeling and dealing, with surprise picks and slam dunks. And it has all the potential drama and intrigue of a James Bond flick.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/06/2015 (2779 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

FORT LAUDERDALE – It can be a day filled with wheeling and dealing, with surprise picks and slam dunks. And it has all the potential drama and intrigue of a James Bond flick.

It’s draft day in the National Hockey League, with the first round going tonight at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Free Press sports columnist Gary Lawless and hockey writer Ed Tait are on the scene and toss around some ideas and thoughts in the hours before the first name is called out.

Gary Wiepert / The Associated Press Noah Hanifin


ED TAIT: Let’s open with this, Gary: I wonder if the Jets have the currency – that’s the word GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has used all week – to move up?

They have the 17th and 25th picks in the first round and want to move into the Top 10. So, one of the hot rumours on Thursday had the Arizona Coyotes open to flipping the third overall selection for more draft choices and young players. Coyotes GM Don Maloney said one team offered him a pair of mid-first round picks and a player for the pick, a comment that immediately had media and fans connecting the dots with the Jets. Maybe 17, 25 and the rights to Alex Burmistrov… is that enough for third overall? Would you make that move if you were either team?

GARY LAWLESS: I’m not sure if Arizona would make the move but if I’m the Jets, it makes sense on a few levels. Let’s say the package is Winnipeg’s two picks and Alex Burmistrov for the No. 3 pick. The Jets could then use that No. 3 pick to select Noah Hanifin, the left-hand shot D from Boston College. Hanifin can step into the Jets lineup immediately and balance their D. He’s big and can skate and some have compared him to Aaron Ekblad. The Jets have an issue with re-signing veteran defenceman Dustin Byfuglien. If HanIfin steps in and adds to the D corps, that would free the Jets up to considering a trade for Byfuglien which would bring back a roster player, a prospect and a pick. Hanafin could provide budget relief and help with the here and now and the future.

ED TAIT: Arizona has to be tempted by Hanifin or Dylan Strome, the big centre from the Erie Otters. Obviously either one would be a huge fit for the Jets. Imagine Hanifin on their blueline, or Strome down the middle with Bryan Little, Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry.

I just don’t know why Arizona would move down for Burmstrov and the 17th and 25th picks when Hanifin or Strome are staring them in the face. To me, that potential package isn’t enough.

So, if the Jets stay at 17 and they take best-player available – not drafting by positional need – who do you think they’ll pick?

GARY LAWLESS: One name I’m hearing is Jakub Zboril. He’s a defenceman from the Czech Republic. It’s hard to say because when you’re drafting down at 17 and 25, you have a bucket of as many as five players you are looking at for those spots. So much depends on who other teams take. You have to be flexible. Let’s talk about the Jets UFA’s and Alex Burmistrov for a second. Michael Frolik is here taking interviews and it looks more and more like he’s going to move on. I keep hearing positive things about talks with Drew Stafford. I think they get a deal done. Burmistrov isn’t a front burner issue for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. I think they get back to Winnipeg and try and lock up Stafford and also get down to serious business on an extension for captain Andrew Ladd.

ED TAIT: Funny thing about these drafts: a ton of names are tossed around and most of us – full disclosure, myself included – have hardly seen these prospects play, if at all.

A name I’m intrigued about if he’s sitting there at 17 is Russian forward Evgeny Svechnikov of Cape Breton in the Q. Big-time finisher (78 points in 55), he’s 6-2, 199 and could also play centre.

I think you’re right about Frolik – he’s gonzo, Not sure Burmistrov is in their plans, either. That leaves more dollars for a deal to get done with Stafford and he showed me more than I thought with the Jets – can play both wings and fit in well in the dressing room.

GARY LAWLESS: Well, it’s early and lots can happen in the next few hours. We’ll stay tuned and work the lobby and the phones and you never know what will pop up. If something goes down with the Jets before the draft, we’ll have it for you here. Stay tuned.

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