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Poker-faced Jets GM Buffaloes reporters ahead of draft

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>C'mon, Chevy... a hint?</p></p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

C'mon, Chevy... a hint?

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2016 (1185 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The clock is ticking down to the start of Friday's NHL entry draft, but he's not tipping his hand.

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff met reporters Thursday in Buffalo and showed off his dance moves. Verbal ones.

Yes, Cheveldayoff said, he’ll be picking second Friday evening.

And Cheveldayoff said he’d be picking... a player.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2016 (1185 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The clock is ticking down to the start of Friday's NHL entry draft, but he's not tipping his hand.

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff met reporters Thursday in Buffalo and showed off his dance moves. Verbal ones.

Yes, Cheveldayoff said, he’ll be picking second Friday evening.

And Cheveldayoff said he’d be picking... a player.

He also fielded a few what-if questions on whether he thought the Toronto Maple Leafs would pick, as expected, top-rated Auston Matthews, a centre.

"That’s a Toronto Maple Leafs question."

Asked if he’s been considering moving down in the draft order — assuming another team would offer enough incentive to make it worth his while — Cheveldayoff shook his head.

"I can’t say there’s been anything that has moved me enough to say, ‘Guys, we’ve got to sit down and talk about this,'" he said. "You do, out of due diligence, take everything to our group. At least I do. I feel it’s important. It... helps you reinforce where you’re at and what you want to do. I’m real proud of the job our staff does. The fact none of you know who I’m going to pick is a real testament to my group."

Cheveldayoff said his prioritized order of prospects has been clear for some time now.

"I’m locked in on the order I have the players there, that our staff has the players there," he said. "It’s been locked for quite a while here now."

It’s widely expected that Matthews will be chosen by the Leafs and that the Jets will select winger Patrik Laine from Finland. The third-ranked player on most scouting lists is Jesse Puljujarvi, another Finn. That trio is widely considered to be a cut above the rest in this year’s draft class.

"They both are tremendous players," Cheveldayoff said, asked to compare the two Finns. "They have unique talents that have put them at the top end of the draft. I think that it’s those unique talents are why the excitement level is there for…winning the lottery."

Cheveldayoff was asked if any teams have tried hard to get him to trade his pick.

"It’s kind of the rite of the season," he said. "You get those phone calls. You certainly have discussions, but whether it spurs you to do something with that pick... it may tweak your mind as to what other teams are thinking about their long-term prognosis on the future. So yeah, lots of conversations, but nothing that I can sit here and say I’m looking to trade away from."

One other interesting line of questions concerned defenceman Jacob Trouba, who will be an restricted free agent next week.

Cheveldayoff said he had no updates to offer on contract negotiations but was clear about whether he would match any offer sheet Trouba might receive from another team.

"Absolutely," he said. "I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about it. The only time I spent talking about it was last week in Winnipeg when I had the small presser there. We were conscious about the decisions we made at the trade deadline last year, not knowing where the cap was going to fall. But we’re very well positioned for whatever may or may not transpire. So no, not really thinking about it."

The Jets also have the 22nd pick on Friday at First Niagara Center. They'll make their second-round pick, No. 36 overall, on Saturday morning.

As of Thursday, the Jets have seven picks in this draft: two in the first round one in the second and one in each of the the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 4:33 PM CDT: Clarifies Trouba is a restricted free agent.

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