Jack Roslovic is the lone member of the Winnipeg Jets that is unaccounted for within Manitoba’s capital. And according to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, it may be that way for some time.
“Obviously, he is an RFA and currently not signed,” Chevy said to reporters over Zoom. “To my knowledge, he is also currently not in Winnipeg. So moving forward there is going to be a quarantine situation, whenever we come to an agreement. We made our qualifying offers back when everyone made their qualifying offers. And as far as the cadence of a conversation or the contents of a meeting, I’ve always had the belief and the way I’ve conducted business is that that’s been kept private.”
Having seen these sorts of situations before – most recently with current New York Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba – the Jets’ key negotiator is holding his ground and remains firm on his asks of the player.
“Technically he doesn’t have a contract, but if it were a situation where he wanted to come, I guess there’s different ways to look at it but it’s not something that’s been explored yet,” Cheveldayoff continued. “But he would be obviously subject to a quarantine. Everybody, not just Jack, everybody whether we bring in somebody on a PTO right now or whether we bring someone outside of Winnipeg into our situation, they’re all going to involve a quarantine. Players can cross the border if they have been invited to training camp.”
In his local media availability, current Jets centreman Andrew Copp also spoke of the current situation in an attempt to put out the miniature fire that is has potentially lit.
“I think we’re past the point of outside things distracting our team,” he said. “I think whether it was guys in the past who have not had contracts at this time, going into camp. There have been situations left and right, it feels like. So we’re kind of past the point of letting outside distractions worry our team. So we’re just trying to get going, get all together on the first day of training camp, get practicing and start to build that team feeling, that camaraderie and get ready to go for the regular season. I don’t think any outside news or rumors or whatever is going to be any sort of impact on our team.”
On top of dealing with Roslovic, Chevy and Co. continue to battle the ongoing trade rumours surrounding winger Patrik Laine. But according to Cheveldayoff, he is in town and following quarantine rules in preparation for training camp.
“So, all of them are in town,” he said. “There are a couple of quarantining things that will probably delay one or two, just with logistics. I haven’t actually spoken to Patrik since he’s been back, but I have been in constant contact with his representatives all the time throughout the long pause however. We’re excited. Obviously camp is getting started here and we think with some of the acquisitions that we’ve made – obviously adding Stas – we think we’ve got one of the better, if not one of the best, top-sixes in the National Hockey League.”
Referencing Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Nik Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Laine, Cheveldayoff is also impressed with the additions the Jets made this offseason, while also hinting at potential upcoming professional tryouts to be offered in the coming week.
“There are a couple of PTOs that we’ll probably be announcing as camp does start to open, but some of that is a bit of a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve had some acquisitions with respect to Stastny and obviously even adding players like Thompson and Forbort from an experience standpoint help. We’re excited about Forbort. The opportunity to have him. He’s someone that, when he was in LA, he put in some top minutes before he had an injury. Put up some really good years playing against some good players, playing some shutdown roles. He relishes the penalty kill which is something that we look at improving.”
Not to be forgotten are defenders making up Winnipeg’s blueline in 2020-21.
“Obviously, we’re excited that Dylan DeMelo chose to stay with us from a free agent standpoint. Really excited about just the continuity of Josh taking another step, Neal Pionk taking another step, Tucker Poolman having another year under his belt, Sami Niku, just really hope that he can use training camp as an opportunity to springboard because there is just so much more in his game. And then we’ve got some young players that we’re looking forward to seeing,” Chevy said referencing Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola. “We think we’ve got great depth and we’ve got a couple of guys that we think there’s a lot of room to grow with.”
“As far as with Patrik, again, I assume he’s probably going to have one of the best years of his career given the group of players that we have and the professionalism that is there. And the maturity level that all players gain year over year over year, I think just helps us move forward.”
That said, all gets underway from Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Iceplex on January 3 as training camp opens for all players. The Jets are scheduled to host the Calgary Flames at Bell MTS Place on January 14 for the season-opener.