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Cheveldayoff, Jets ready for free agency

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

WINNIPEG - With the NHL Draft having just wrapped up, the Jets' annual Prospect Development Camp humming along in west-end Winnipeg, and the July 1 'Free Agent Frenzy' fast approaching, it's a busy time for General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff as he looks to fill out his roster for the 2017-18 season.

Cheveldayoff says the Jets have been in touch with a number of players and their agents over the past week, and that he expects those conversations to continue over the next few days and into the weekend when the signing season officially opens.

"It's about what fits, and it has to fit for both sides," he said. "There's money and term, there's opportunity, and that needs to fit for both sides."

Prior to the draft last week, Cheveldayoff said the Jets are likely in the market for a goaltender and a left-shot defenceman, and will continue to have a "strong focus" on those areas leading up to and on July 1.

Over the past week, teams have been able to interview or 'court' players that will officially become available July 1. This gives teams the opportunity to give their best pitch, and for the players to consider all options and find the best fit.

However, during this period teams cannot negotiate contracts - only interest, meaning the rather important details of money and term can only be ironed out when free agency opens at 11:00am CT on Saturday.

"We've done our due diligence. We're going to look at the areas that we need to improve," he said. "It's been a busy week. From the time that 217 players are called at the draft, you shift your mindset right into this week. We've had several different conversations with players and agents on conference calls with our staff involved. … But until you get to July 1, it's all talk. Once the gun sounds, then you get down to brass tacks and find out what's talk and what's been real."

- Ryan Dittrick,

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