WINNIPEG - It was a productive weekend for Kevin Cheveldayoff, who along with his management team got pen to paper on contracts for Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.
The goal was always to get these deals done before training camp, but despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes that doesn't always happen.
"We obviously didn't meet that deadline or that goal for both parties, but we kept on working at it," Cheveldayoff said. "They're here now. They'll get a couple days of skating. Everything is in the books, signed, sealed and delivered."
While Laine signed a two-year contract and Connor inked a seven-year deal, Cheveldayoff said each negotiation is unique and sometimes different lengths work at different times for players.
The best example is likely Josh Morrissey, who signed a two-year deal three days into last year's training camp before he agreed to terms on an eight-year extension on Sept. 12.
"I got a chance to talk with his dad in Calgary when we were there for the exhibition game the other day. These are big family decisions as well," Cheveldayoff said. "
"We needed Josh to take a bridge in order to try and keep this group together to try and take a swing at it last year, knowing we were going to have some contract challenges coming up … and not knowing where the cap was going to go. Those are the type of things, those are the type of sacrifices and commitments players make."
Laine and Connor went through physicals today and will skate with the team on Tuesday. They'll get one more full-team practice in on Wednesday before flying to New York to play the Rangers on Thursday night.
"They're players that have been big parts of our team. There won't be any 'how do they fit? Where do they fit?' These guys are excited," Cheveldayoff said. "The group is excited. They're back here because they are hockey players and that's what they get to do now again."
Video: MEDIA AVAILABILITY | Kevin Cheveldayoff
Cheveldayoff spoke with defenceman Dustin Byfuglien a couple of days ago, but says everything is "status quo" regarding number 33's personal leave of absence.
"It's like any injury right now," said Cheveldayoff. "You treat it like that… The coaches, when a player gets injured they take his name and put it on IR or they put it to the side. They deal with what they have in front of them.
"Our coaches have done a fantastic job of dealing with what's in front of them. They'll continue to do that. If I walk into the office and say 'this is happening with Buff' or 'that's happening with Buff' they'll act accordingly, because that's what coaches do."
There was no further update on Bryan Little on Monday after the veteran centre left Sunday's 5-4 preseason overtime win over Minnesota.
Little was hit in the head by Luke Kunin in the first period and didn't return.
"He's going to get evaluated further here today," said Cheveldayoff. "Obviously the group isn't on the ice today so I don't have an update in that regard."
The 31-year-old centre has played 82 games in each of the past two seasons accumulating 84 points in those 164 games.
Defenceman Sami Niku had a light skate today (with Laine and Connor) at Bell MTS Place.
With the Jets roster sitting at 24 players (with C.J. Suess and Joona Luoto reassigned to the Manitoba Moose along with Eric Comrie, Nelson Nogier, and JC Lipon (the final three pending waivers), Cheveldayoff said the final roster decisions - such as getting the number down to 23 - will unfold in the coming days.
"Sami unfortunately hasn't been able to participate as much as he'd like in training camp. When he'll be ready remains to be seen," said Cheveldayoff. "We'll wait to hear the status of Bryan hopefully later today."
Not among the five players reassigned on Monday include defenceman Ville Heinola and centre David Gustafsson.
The team announced both players had number changes today, with Heinola switching from 36 to 14 and Gustafsson changing from 41 to 19.
After seeing the roster turnover this off-season - with players like Jacob Trouba, Ben Chiarot, Tyler Myers, and Brandon Tanev moving on - Cheveldayoff has enjoyed seeing prospects seize the opportunity in front of them.
"We've got a good hockey team here," Cheveldayoff said. "There have obviously been some changes. We've made two major decisions here in the last couple days and we're excited about that.