Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff just can’t avoid fielding questions about two of the team’s stars — who happen to be pending UFAs at season’s end.
The question is, will they be locked up for the long haul at some point this season or sent packing to add more youth?
Cheveldayoff was coy on Wednesday when asked for an update on negotiations surrounding Ladd and Byfuglien.
Kevin Chevelday said, per the Winnipeg Sun:
Each and every deal, whether it’s RFAs or UFAs, they all take on their own light. At different points and times, you try to move the process along. Sometimes, there are circumstances – internally or externally – that come into play here. At this point and time, there are various levels of dialogue that are happening on both of their fronts.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) September 9, 2015
Ladd, who will turn 30 in December, is in the prime of his career. The two-time Stanley Cup champion enters the final season of a five-year deal with a cap hit of $4.4 million. He’ll be looking for a raise after leading the Jets in scoring last season with 62 points in 81 games.
Byfuglien, on the other hand, has been the subject of several trade rumours throughout the off-season.
The 30-year-old blue-liner, who is line to make $6 million in his final year with the Jets, could be traded by the deadline if the team is out of playoff position.
The Jets’ top prospects will be on the ice this weekend in the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C.
Forwards Nicolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan, Brendan Lemieux, defencemen Josh Morrissey and Eric Comrie as well as goalies Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie will suit up when the Jets open the tourney against the Calgary Flames on Friday.
Winnipeg will also face Vancouver on Sunday before taking on Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.