PHILADELPHIA – Winnipeg Jets’ general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wasn’t looking for one specific way to improve his team at the 2014 NHL draft.
Instead, he focused on acquiring depth, of both players and picks, casting a wide net over the two days in Philadelphia.
“We had a smattering of everything,” said Cheveldayoff. “We got some high skill in the first round, we got a big two-way defenceman early today, and we picked up some more skill, some grit on the wing and then we got some big centremen at the end as well.”
The Jets made two trades as well, sending the 159th pick and the rights to goalie Eddie Pasquale to the Washington Capitals for the 164th and 192nd picks in this year’s draft and a seventh-round pick in 2015.
The Jets also acquired Ottawa’s sixth-round pick in 2015 for their 189th pick this year.
“We came in with seven picks, and we ended up picking seven players,” said Cheveldayoff. “We stockpiled some picks for next year’s draft, and we did come in saying that if we felt we were going to get our players later in the draft that we could get to see if we could move down.
“We ended up acquiring an extra pick when we moved the rights to Eddie Pasquale, so we had some picks that if we could find a way to move into next year to have those assets moving forward, that was something we were looking forward to.”
The Jets’ took Jack Glover from the United States’ under-18 team with the 69th overall pick, their highest pick on the second day of the draft.
“He’s got good size, he moves very well, and he’s a good two-way defenceman,” said Cheveldayoff. “Getting him in the third round is something we were very excited about, because where we had him on our list was not in that realm. When he was available we actually looked at trying to package something to move up into the later parts of the second round, but we couldn’t find a match, so we were happy to get a player that we liked.”
“I like to push the pace,” said the six-foot-three, 190-pound Glover, “and to get the puck to the forwards. I definitely think that I’m a guy that relies on my skating and my vision, and I think those are my two biggest assets. I’m not a big hitter, I’m not a big bruiser, but I take great pride in my defensive game.”
With their fourth-round picks, the Jets took two players from the WHL: centre Chase De Leo from Portland and defenceman Nelson Nogier from Saskatoon. The team used its lone fifth-round pick on left wing Clinston Franklin of the USHL, and wrapped its activity in the sixth and seventh rounds with centre Pavel Kraskovsky from the Russia-Jr. team and centre/left wing Matt Ustaski from the BCHL.
De Leo will join his childhood best friend and WHL rival, goalie Eric Comrie, as a Jets’ prospect. Comrie is the half-brother of NHL players Mike and Paul Comrie.
“When we were 10 years old we had a piece of paper and we both signed it, saying that we were going to be teammates in the NHL one day,” said De Leo. “It’s pretty special and very exciting.”
Cheveldayoff likes the familiarity between the two prospects.
“It’s great to see the players in our organization have a bond already even before they get to development camp or training camp,” said Cheveldayoff. “We are trying to build one family here, and it’s great to have a head start on it.”