Kevin Cheveldayoff, Craig Heisinger

Kevin Cheveldayoff officially named Winnipeg’s new GM

The rumors began to build last week and were more or less justified yesterday, but now it’s been officially announced: Kevin Cheveldayoff will be Winnipeg’s GM. Cheveldayoff replaces former Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was relieved of his duties after just one season as the team’s general manager.

Cheveldayoff spent his last two seasons as the assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, but it’s possible that the biggest draw was his previous experience as the general manager of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. He ran that team – the minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Thrashers – for 12 seasons, which provides him with plenty of knowledge of the Thrashers (and therefore the Winnipeg [blanks]) prospects and homegrown talent.

He told reporters that he hopes to build a “contender for years to come.”

Speaking of contenders, he’s the latest front office member to leave the Blackhawks in the last few seasons. Dudley was also in Chicago’s front office, working under former GM Dale Tallon before current Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman took over. Here’s what Bowman said about Cheveldayoff.

“While it is never easy to lose someone of his caliber, it is a great opportunity for him and his family,” Blackhawks Vice-President/General Manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He was a significant part of our front office and he played an integral role in the success of the Blackhawks throughout the last two years. I want to personally thank him for his dedication to our organization and certainly wish him all the best in Winnipeg.”

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of budget True North Sports and Entertainment will hand Cheveldayoff. Their goal of selling 13,000 season tickets was easily reached, so Winnipeg should be a hit at the box office if nothing else. He’ll face some interesting off-season questions, which we’ll discuss in a later post.

True North is putting their own stamp on their new franchise with this decision. Maybe one of these days, they might actually deliver on their promise of revealing the team’s name, too. (Not that we’re bitter about that, or anything.)

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.