Jets hopefuls will strut stuff at development camp Sunday

No players have appeared in a NHL regular-season game

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Slim and none.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/07/2016 (2343 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Slim and none.

That’s the amount of pro and NHL experience you’ll watch starting Sunday at the MTS Iceplex when the Winnipeg Jets begin their annual development camp.

The Jets have pivoted away from inviting prospects with considerable pro experience under their belts.

Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press Logan Stanley towers over members of the Jets management team Friday night at the NHL Draft in Buffalo.

Of the 34 players expected to attend this year’s exercise which runs from Sunday to Thursday, only six have any pro games, those totalling 174 in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and 43 more games in the ECHL last season.

There isn’t a single player who has appeared in an NHL regular-season game.

First-year players who played considerable minutes for the Moose in 2015-16 will not be here this week.Included in that group are Nic Petan, Chase De Leo, Eric Comrie and Josh Morrissey.

Instead, fans will get a full dose of Winnipeg draft picks, with the exception of second-overall 2016 choice Patrik Laine, who will participate in a couple of days of the camp but will not be on the ice.

Laine had a minor knee procedure done after being named the world championship most valuable player in Russia.

“I’ve been fortunate to see him play many times,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Friday, pointing out the continuing buzz around Laine. “It would be nice to have the market see him here but it does give you some exciting things. Whether it’s guys texting or tweeting after the draft. I know internally, getting text messages from some of the players, just the excitement level of being able to draft Patrik, internally, within the confines of the team and room, those are pretty exciting moments.”

Four of Winnipeg’s other five draft picks from last weekend will be on hand, defencemen Logan Stanley, Luke Green and Jacob Cederholm and forward Jordy Stallard.

Combine those prospects with prominent draft picks past — 2015 first-rounders Kyle Connor (who’s signed) and Jack Roslovic, 2014 second-rounder Jack Glover and 2013 fifth-rounder Tucker Poolman, plus 2015 trade acquisition Brenden Lemieux, a 2014 second-rounder, and you’ll see a fairly comprehensive representation of what’s in the cupboard.

Only Lemieux (five AHL games), 2015 second-rounder Jansen Harkins (six AHL games), free-agent signee Axel Blomqvist (33 games), free-agent signee Jiri Fronk (33 games), 2013 third-rounder Jimmy Lodge (45 games) and 2013 fourth-rounder Jan Kostalek (52 games) played for the Moose last season.

Once again, the Jets will concentrate on adaptation and not performance at this camp.

“This whole week is about teaching,” Cheveldayoff said. “It’s about the off-ice teaching for the next guys coming in and it’s about us learning a little more about their bodies and individual training situations. And then also teaching them our expectations. For the guys that will be at training camp, what are our expectations in testing? What Paul (Maurice) is looking for when we get (there).”

The players are being split into two groups for the five-day camp, with separate practices each day.

The exception to that schedule will pit the teams against each other in a full scrimmage at the Iceplex Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Tickets for the that game will be available at Jets Gear stores only beginning this morning at 10 a.m. and there will be a cap of 1,000 tickets sold for the game.

The camp’s other days will be open attendance and free admission and autograph opportunities will be available each day.

Laine is expected to take part in off-ice activities with the team Sunday and Monday only.

The only other player of note who will not be on the ice or in attendance is goalie Jamie Phillips of Michigan Tech. Phillips has finished his NCAA career and has to be signed this summer or he will become a free agent.

He has previously attended development camps but has not signed. The Jets haven’t yet said they won’t sign Phillips, which probably means they’re seeing if they can get something done with the 23-year-old from Caledonia, Ont.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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