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ANALYSIS: Lots of off-season work for Jets with draft looming

If you’re looking for a defining moment in the business of the National Hockey League to turn the page on last season, this first week of June is certainly it.

With the Stanley Cup finals coinciding with the league’s annual scouting combine in Buffalo, it is this period of NHL operations that officially starts the transition into next season — a hand-off.

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Clearly, that starting gun went off Monday with the Cole Caufield mega-extension with the Montreal Canadiens and continued Tuesday when Columbus, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles were involved in a three-team trade.

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Closer to home, the Winnipeg Jets will emerge from the starting blocks in good time too, perhaps later this week or in the coming days and weeks, as this off-season will be unlike any other in their annals.

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And while a trade or contract extension may not get consummated before the 106 draft prospects depart western New York on Saturday, it doesn’t mean the conversations haven’t begun involving the future of a number of Winnipeg players.

Resolution on individuals like Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Pierre-Luc Dubois appear to be the priorities, but the baton will also be passed onto other personnel decisions too.

For instance, there are also contracts required for important young players like Morgan Barron and Dylan Samberg — two pieces that are vital to the future of the franchise. Plus, with five picks available later this month in the entry draft, there’s no shortage of items on the agenda for Jets management.

So as the Stanley Cup finals continue — maybe for only two more games — and with the last big showcase ongoing in Buffalo this week, league business in preparing for next season is certainly accelerating.

In fact, the work never really stops when you’re running an NHL team, but this week in the history of the league — the first week in June, draft combine week as we know it — is when the stopwatch on next season starts to run in earnest.

Click to play video: 'Tracking the Moose: Bright future for young forwards'
Tracking the Moose: Bright future for young forwards

 

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