Hurry it up, September: Only then can twitchy Winnipeg Jets faithful satisfy their puck lust

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The quiet summer continues to be just that for the Winnipeg Jets. There was a flurry of normal off-season activity following the June 27-28 draft.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/08/2015 (2554 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The quiet summer continues to be just that for the Winnipeg Jets. There was a flurry of normal off-season activity following the June 27-28 draft.

The Jets re-signed forward Drew Stafford to a two-year deal June 30, before he hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

The following day, they inked free agents Matt Halischuk and Adam Pardy to new deals, then announced forward Alex Burmistrov had a new two-year contract and would be returning from his two-year hiatus to the KHL in Russian.

Mark Zaleski / The Associated Press Files Winnipeg Jets right-winger Drew Stafford is locked in for two more years.

The team’s annual development camp for prospects and draft picks followed a few days later — including an interview with Burmistrov — but since then there’s been virtual silence from the NHL team.

That’s because the Jets, like most clubs, have gone into their off-season mode, when business slows down.

Some fans are anxious there’s been no word from the team, other than some talks had been taking place with representatives for captain Andrew Ladd and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who have one season remaining on their contracts.

The duo could become unrestricted free agents next summer. There had been hints of considerable progress in Ladd’s case, but there has been no announcement of any deal.

The lack of news in August can generally be put down to summer mode in the world of pro hockey and is not likely cause for stress. The same will not be said around the time training camps open Sept. 17.

Other veteran Jets of 2014-15 remain unsigned. Jim Slater, Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak appear at this point to be excluded from the team’s future.

In the near-term future, the team is expected to offer some glimpse by the end of the month at the spruced-up MTS Centre, which is coming up on its 11th anniversary.

Work continues on the installation of a few hundred new loge seats, which will increase the arena’s capacity by 250 or so, the renovation of luxury suites, the construction of new dressing rooms for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and AHL visitors, and the installation of the new scoreclock/video screen.

On the matter of other renovations, no work has yet begun on the expansion of the MTS Iceplex, where the Jets and Moose practise somewhat regularly.

There is a planned multimillion-dollar enhancement of the four-sheet facility on the drawing board. It may get underway soon but isn’t expected to be complete for use during the 2015-16 season.

Beyond the usual off-season preparations, the organization’s actual hockey activity won’t restart in earnest until early September. Rookies who will participate in the 2015 Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton, B.C., will report to Winnipeg Sept. 10 and be quickly whisked into action.

The Jets’ main training camp begins Sept. 17 with medicals, and Sept. 18 on the ice. The club is planning to repeat its successful FanFest celebration during training camp, but details are not yet finalized, director of corporate communications Scott Brown said Monday.

The Jets’ exhibition schedule of seven games begins Sept. 22 and the 82-game regular season starts Oct. 8.

Brown also said Monday those eager to see the Moose schedule for the AHL return season of 2015-16 will have to wait a while longer. The league is expected to announce the full schedule sometime during the final week of August.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 9:59 AM CDT: Changes headline, replaces photo

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