Wednesday, December 7

Scheifele expected back with Jets next season, GM says

BUFFALO — mark scheifele is expected to remain with the Winnipeg Jets next season, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Tuesday.

Scheifele questioned his future in Winnipeg after the Jets (39-32-11) missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons, finishing eight points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card from the Western Conference. The center has two seasons remaining on the eight-year, $49 million contract he signed July 8, 2016.

“Yeah, I do,” Cheveldayoff told at the 2022 Adidas NHL Scouting Combine. “My exit interview with Mark went well.

“Again, it was an emotional time for everybody. We asked (our players) to wear their emotions in the exits, and I think they were very productive.”

Scheifele missed the final nine games of the season because of an upper-body injury but still finished with 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists) in 67 games. He is 16th in the NHL since 2016-17 with 432 points (172 goals, 260 assists) in 415 games.

“Obviously I love it here,” Scheifele said after Winnipeg’s season finale on May 1. “It’s been the only place I know. I obviously think there’s a lot of big questions to be asked this offseason about where the team’s going and what’s all going to happen.… I’d love to be in Winnipeg, but I also have to see where this is all going and what direction this team is going in, and I guess we’ll see this summer.

“I have to think about my career and what’s going to be best for me. I have to talk to my agents and everyone in my family and stuff like that and figure out what I really want.”

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Cheveldayoff, who has been Jets GM since June 8, 2011, signed a three-year contract May 2 and is holding a search for a new coach. Dave Lowry, who was promoted from assistant after Paul Maurice resigned Dec. 17, could be a candidate. They went 26-22-6 under Lowry.

There has been speculation one of the leading candidates could be Barry Trotz, who was fired as New York Islanders coach after four seasons on May 9. Trotz, who has also coached the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators, is a native of Dauphin, Manitoba, 196 miles northwest of Winnipeg. The 59-year-old is 914-670-168 (60 ties) in 23 NHL seasons, and his 1,812 regular-season games are second in NHL history to Scotty Bowman (2,141), and he’s third in wins behind Bowman (1,244) and Joel Quenneville (969).

Trotz was 152-102-34, and 28-21 in the playoffs with the Islanders, and is a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award voted as NHL coach of the year (2016 with Washington, 2019 with New York).

Asked if acquiring a marquee name for the position was a priority, Cheveldayoff said, “I’m keeping a very open mind.” He also said he has not set a deadline to have a coach in place in time for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, which will take place in Montreal on July 7-8.

“I think everyone says that because it’s a milestone-type thing,” Cheveldayoff said. “But I want to make sure we’re comfortable with our decisions.”

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