Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was offering nothing new today on the matters of potential contract extensions for captain Andrew Ladd and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

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Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was offering nothing new today on the matters of potential contract extensions for captain Andrew Ladd and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

Each is heading into the final year of his contract and could become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"Dialogue is ongoing at different stages with different people," Cheveldayoff told the Free Press today. "Again, there’s lots of moving parts that come into play. Some of it is things that are in your control. Some are things that are out of your control with respect to maybe other people in the marketplace or other contracts.

"We live in a cap world that is an interesting time right now when it comes to the future and what it holds in store for all those kind of things.

"So much of our world at this point in time is projection and speculation and when it comes to projection on the players or projection on the cap. All those things come into play when you’re dealing with the issues we’re dealing with right now."

Cheveldayoff wanted his team’s fan base to know those particular contract issues are a priority.

"I think every year there’s always a few guys here and there that fall into that category, RFA’s or UFA’s or potential UFA’s when it comes to that," he said. "It’s always on the top of our mind. Some of these things work quicker than others with time frames.

"You have to follow a certain order, things like that. If it’s on their (fans’) minds, it’s certainly on our minds and it’s something that behind the scenes here, it’s being addressed."

Asked if it would be a distraction if contract negotiations are still ongoing once the regular season starts, the GM replied. "It’s hard to say. Each and every contract takes on its own life. Each situation has its own life when it comes to those kind of things. I guess if you guys don’t ask, then it’s not a distraction."

Cheveldayoff said say again today that he’s had no contract discussions with three players from his team last season who have become UFA’s, Jim Slater, Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty.

"I can’t say we’ve had any ongoing discussions with them at this point in time," Cheveldayoff said. "I’ve never, ever flat-out told them, ‘No, you’re not coming back,’ but we have no ongoing discussions with them at this time."

Looking ahead to training camp, which starts with medicals next Thursday, the GM cast some doubt as to whether veteran defenceman Grant Clitsome would be able to participate.

Clitsome missed the second half of last season after back surgery.

"I would say it’s probably not likely (he’ll be on the ice next week)," Cheveldayoff said. "He’s going to, with camp coming up here right now, end up seeing our doctors and I expect once he does see our doctors, we’ll be able to give a little bit of a better update as to where things are at.

"He didn’t finish the season last year and it was his second surgery on his back. There are some concerns with respect to his full recovery but all those things will come into play once he sees our doctors at the start of camp."

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca