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Kevin Cheveldayoff Press Conference

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke to the media this afternoon to discuss the recent signing of Blake Wheeler, as well as a number of other Jets related topics. Read the quotes below, or scroll down to the bottom to listen to the audio.

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

The following quotes were taken from GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

On wrapping up the Blake Wheeler contract:

“Well its certainly something we’re excited to be able to announce, something we’ve been working on for quite a while, from the standpoint of going back and forth with his agent. These things take time, and it played out exactly the way we thought it would, in respect to not having to go to arbitration. The talks were very constructive, and very good right from the beginning. The hard part in a situation like that is trying to take a look where everyone falls into place and come up with a number that works for both sides.”

“The situation that he is going to be afforded on the top lines right from the start, we’d like to see how things finished up last year with the Thrashers is how things pick up this year with the Jets.”

Read more quotes from Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff after the jump

On negotiations with defenseman Zach Bogosian

“It’s in a kind of similar process, the NHL has different deadlines and different things with respect to different players obviously when a player files for arbitration there’s a set date that that’s going to go. You work off those deadlines. With someone like Zach there’s different forces in play, the conversations are continuing with his agent, there’s really no time frame set in place to have that one done by. It’s kind of a summer negotiation type thing, where everyone’s respectful of the fact that this time is a down time for the players, and in some respects a down time for the agents at certain points in time and for management. Those talks will continue and they’ve been good.”

On the goodwill he has earned as General Manager

“You work hard at creating relationships, not only with the players but with the agents; we’ve been very open and honest, with what’s been on our plate, and when we are going to get to it. Same thing when we talked to Andrew Ladd’s agent, we told him once the draft is over we are going to be able to dig our feet into the ground and try to get that done.”

“With Bogosian it’s playing out exactly how we thought it would, it’s going to take some time. Each one of the negotiations, Ladd, Wheeler, regular RFAs and Zach all have different nuances to them.”

On his experience with arbitration

“The only arbitration situation that we got to was the Antii Niemi one, in a lot of cases players file for arbitration, but I would say the majority of them rarely get to it, but you are seeing a few that maybe go this year but a lot of them are settled before you walk in the room.”

“I think in old school arbitration there was a lot of negativity involved. Now you separate the player from the arbitration. It’s more about statistics; it’s all about comparables, that’s really how contracts are valued in this CBA. It’s all about the actual comparables, not exactly about the player itself. You tend to focus more on the stats than the personal side.”

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

On giving young players a greater opportunity in Winnipeg

“I think with a lot of players it’s all about opportunity, what we’ve been trying to talk to the agents and players about, is we’re here to give these players the opportunity to grow and in some organizations there’s people & depth above them. In our situation we want to give them the chance to see where they can come out, and if we went out and signed a whole bunch of free agents maybe those players wouldn’t have the chance to grow.”

“We’re going to get a chance to see what they have, and certainly we talk to the agents and the players, it’s in their hands, we can get the contracts done and talk about comparables, they’ll be given a chance to play and we hope to prove to everyone what they have in them.”

On the recently signed Jason Jaffray

“Jason Jaffray is someone that is knocking on the door from the NHL standpoint, certainly a familiar face here in Winnipeg. Someone when given the opportunity to seize that could be a real bright thing for us”

On the possibility of any additional roster moves

“I think that you’re always looking, there are some interesting options potentially out there. It’s kind of a time period now, you get the rush right after free agency, maybe the next couple days after there’s a little bit of things going on, you get your RFA situation in order, if you have an arbitration you have to deal with that. Maybe you have a unique circumstance in the negotiation side like we do with Zach that takes its own course in time. You look at all different things, the hockey industry will slow down a little bit and will pick up in August sometime and we’ll head right into the season there. You’re always looking you’re always talking, to say what you see today will be there tomorrow is hard to say at this time.”

“I think you’re always looking for that, it’s got to be a right fit for the mesh of guys, you want them to mesh together. For us obviously, you look at the roster right now there’s probably some room, you could add some forwards, we think our defense is pretty deep with respect to the national league side and the depth side. Certainly if the right opportunity presents itself at forward or defense, we’re going to look at it.”

On potentially signing Manitoban Shane Hnidy

“I spoke with Shane a couple of days ago, I ran into him here in Winnipeg, a great player, has had a really good career. From our stand point with respect to the depth that we have I’m not sure that there’s room. But if certain things presented itself, he’s someone who could be taken a look at. Right now we’re not focusing at that slot in that position.”

On the additional coaching slots to be filled

“Interviews are still ongoing, we’ve conducted several interviews for the vacant position have a couple more left this week, I would anticipate something if not by the end of this week, certainly by the beginning of next.”

Listen to the audio below

Kevin Cheveldayoff speaks to the media July 19, 2011