PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke for over 10 minutes with reporters this morning. Yet despite no shortage of probing questions, the Winnipeg Jets’ general manager didn’t really say all that much.
On the subject of Evander Kane, whose name has been bandied about in all sorts of trade rumors, Cheveldayoff would only say, “From an organization standpoint, we’re going to listen to everybody. If there’s a [player on the Jets] that a team has an interest in, my phone is open for a phone call. But that shouldn’t be categorized that anything is imminent, or that I’ve got deals on the table, or not.”
Later, Cheveldayoff bristled slightly when asked if Kane, 22, has asked to be traded.
“These kind of questions are really unfair,” he said. “There’s lots of conversations that go on [during the season]. Certainly there was levels of frustration at different points in time for individual players. From our standpoint, Evander is a Winnipeg Jet. There’s been lots of different rumors out there. At this point in time, this is how we’re going to proceed.”
The Jets have failed to make the playoffs in each of their three seasons in Winnipeg. With the honeymoon over in the prairie city, the pressure is building on management to produce a winner on the ice. Hence, all the trade speculation surrounding Kane, as well as other team stars like Dustin Byfuglien.
Still, Cheveldayoff is trying to stay patient, with this weekend’s draft of “paramount” importance.
“You can’t will yourself to make the playoffs,” he said. “You have to continue to build and get pieces that will try and push you forward.”