The Winnipeg Jets are "very set" on who they plan to select with the No. 2 pick at the 2016 NHL Draft, barring an unforeseen shift or shake-up, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Tuesday.
However, Cheveldayoff was not ready to say who that player is.
"We've gone through a lot of the processes already and the list is getting pretty much in ink," Cheveldayoff said. "We will continue to do our due diligence right up until the draft. The players on the top end look like they're ready to step in, but what roles they play are left to them."
The 2016 draft will be held at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on June 24-25.
In their latest mock drafts, NHL.com staff writers Adam Kimelman and Mike Morreale each has right wing Patrik Laine of Tappara in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, being selected by the Jets with the second pick, with center Auston Matthews of Zurich in National League A in Switzerland going to the Toronto Maple Leafs at No. 1. Laine is second on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters eligible for the draft, behind Matthews.
Cheveldayoff praised Laine's personality and off-ice demeanor after his scouts spoke to him during the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, saying he has a good sense of humor, is confident and very easy to talk to. He said he also was very happy with the Jets' interviews with Matthews and right wing Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat in Liiga. Puljujarvi is No. 3 on Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters.
The Jets also have the No. 22 pick, which they acquired in the trade that sent forward Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks in February. When asked if he would be willing to trade the Jets' second first-round pick, Cheveldayoff said he is open to the idea but that he planned to select a player with it.
"We're certainly open to doing anything when it comes to the draft," he said. "Again, we're never really going to abandon the model of drafting and developing. That is the way that organizations are built. Having said that, if there is a viable position that can be filled (in a trade) by using a draft pick, we'd certainly be open to it. Our focus right now is drafting it."
Cheveldayoff said he expects calls from other teams about the No. 22 pick and the Jets' second-round pick (No. 36) but did not indicate if he is involved in any ongoing trade discussions.
"You look at the teams that are drafting ahead of you and try and project how things might go," Cheveldayoff said. "There are a lot of phone calls that night [after the first round] because even teams that don't have a second-round pick or a later pick get excited about what's left on the board. [The No. 36 pick] still gives you a lot of flexibility."