Winnipeg Jets put a wrap on Development Camp 2024

The Winnipeg Jets 2024 Development Camp finished with a Sunday Morning scrimmage in front of another good turnout of fans at Hockey For All Centre.

Recent draft picks Fabian Wagner, Markus Lopponen, Kevin He and Zach Nerhring were among the goal scorers as Elias Salomonsson and Team White edged Brad Lambert and Team Blue 4-3.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says these camps, which weren’t around a decade or so ago, are an asset in a variety of ways from an organizational perspective.

“I think it just shows how much the game has evolved. These players are craving knowledge, working with coaches. They want to talk to people, they want to learn – they wanna grow,” said Cheveldayoff who explained the slant or angle of the development extends beyond the on-ice evaluation.

“(It’s about) player orientation, player education, but it’s also about relationship building – not just with the other players and the coaches and the like. We brought in a chef this year who is helping with chefs in our building, but also talking with the players about the needs of nutrition and the values of nutrition. That’s something players really didn’t understand. Back 10, 15, 20 years ago it was just chicken and pasta – that was the meal.”

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Continuing on the topic of how the game has changed, Cheveldayoff agrees there is an added challenge for these young players when it comes to absorbing or filtering all the information they are receiving from the increasing number of voices in their ears.

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“Whether it’s a skills coach, a skating coach or a nutrionist – they’ve got this way – well you were told this. ‘Mom and Dad want me to do it this way,’” the veteran Jets GM described. “There are a lot of voices to decipher. We’re just here to help give them some guidance with the professionals that we bring in.”

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Cheveldayoff maintained his stance on not commenting about the absence of 2022 first-round pick Rutger McGroarty, or providing any kind of an update on where the relationship sits between the hockey club and the University of Michigan star who has elected to play his junior year in Ann Arbor rather than sign with Winnipeg. But the Jets GM was more than willing to talk, and admit to the organization’s excitement about some of the prospects who did attend the camp and that the team and fans are finally going to get a chance to see: like 2022 second-round pick Elias Salomonsson who is expected to make his North American pro debut this coming season.

“I think it was a great opportunity for him to go back to Sweden last year to play. Obviously a big part of winning a championship. That’s the exciting thing for us – seeing a player year over year over year and whether it’s skating or whether it’s strength, or personality, just watching them grow,” said Cheveldayoff. “It says a lot about a player like Brad Lambert who doesn’t have to come here, but wants to come here and take on a leadership role.”

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Cheveldayoff was also asked about the Jets’ post-July-1st free agent signings that have added the likes of forwards Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Mason Shaw, along with defenseman Haydn Fleury to the depth chart. “Hadyn Fleury is someone that you’ve scouted, you’ve seen for a long period of time and has experience in the league,” said Cheveldayoff of the former 7th overall pick by Carolina in the 2014 NHL entry draft. “He’s had some ups and downs.”

Fleury, who turns 28 on July 8, brings 268 games of NHL experience spread out over eight professional seasons with the Hurricanes, Anaheim, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Cheveldayoff says the Carlyle, Sask., product will be given the chance to compete for a job on the Winnipeg blueline along with restricted free agent Dylan Coghlan who was acquired on the weekend in a trade with Carolina for future considerations but is still unsigned.

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The 26-year-old Coghlan, from Duncan, B.C.,  joins the likes of Cole Perfetti and Ville Heinola who are also unsigned RFA’s the team needs to dedicate some of their remaining $US 4.25 million cap space to.

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