WINNIPEG - One of the significant dates on the National Hockey League's off season calendar came and went on Tuesday, as teams had to extend qualifying offers to restricted free agents in order to retain negotiating rights with those players.
The Winnipeg Jets announced they had tendered those qualifying offers to six RFAs: Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Eric Comrie, Nelson Nogier, and the newly acquired Neal Pionk.
General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had a total of 11 RFAs on the books, so that meant qualifying offers weren't sent to Nathan Beaulieu, Joe Morrow, Marko Dano, Ken Appleby, or Jimmy Oligny.
"That doesn't mean you can't talk to them," Cheveldayoff said.
"We keep an open door with a lot of those players. They're good quality people that were part of our organization and we'll continue to talk."
Another significant date that came up on June 23 is the unrestricted free agent talking period, which began on June 23.
"This is the third or fourth time that you've had this talking period and the different nuances. It takes on its own life," said Cheveldayoff, adding the Jets don't plan to fly in any free agents for conversations. "A few years ago we were looking for some specific things at this time. This year, it's a little bit different. You're looking for some fine-tuning things as opposed to the bigger picture."
He did say however, that his conversations with free agents has changed since the team relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.
"There were 20-some players that we had to have initial conversations with about being traded to Winnipeg from Atlanta, so to speak. You had that process that was well underway," said Cheveldayoff. "Now when you're talking about your team, they're looking at your team and thinking 'do I have a chance to play?' It's not so much 'do I want to come to Winnipeg?' It's a very different type of situation than it was when the team first came.
"We have a solid core of players that we're building around and have been building around over the years."
A total of 41 players are taking part in this week's development camp at Bell MTS Iceplex, but there are some injuries preventing players from participating.
Defenceman Logan Stanley, coming off his first pro season with the Manitoba Moose, didn't skate on Tuesday. However, Cheveldayoff believes the 2016 first round pick will be on the ice this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.
Other injuries include Johnathan Kovacevic (sustained an injury while training, likely won't be on-ice this week) and David Gustafsson (isn't anticipated to skate).
Newly signed Andrei Chibisov (who just finished his fifth season in the KHL) isn't in Winnipeg just yet, but the team is doing everything they can to make that happen.
Finally, C.J. Suess received a medical exemption to attend this year's camp. He didn't skate on Tuesday, but Cheveldayoff expects him on the ice this week.
"He got a medical exemption based on his shoulder," said Cheveldayoff. "He had a personal commitment that he couldn't come but I just saw him in the dressing room and he should be on the ice tomorrow."