Jets' Cheveldayoff addresses coaching, Scheifele comments at season-ending news conference

Finding a new coach will be one of the priorities for the Winnipeg Jets during the off-season, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said in his season-ending address to media on Monday.

The Jets finished the season with a win against Seattle on Sunday but missed the playoffs with a record of 39-32-11 and 89 points.

Cheveldayoff, who signed a three-year contract extension, informed the current coaching staff of his plans to begin a search for a new head coach.

Paul Maurice stepped away halfway through the season and Dave Lowry took over in the interim.

Cheveldayoff added he told Lowry that if he wants to be part of that search, he has earned an interview.

“We will grant him a formal interview process in that regard,” said Cheveldayoff. “I met with all the assistant coaches as well and told them that, you know; again, we’re going to go through this process and there is a chance that they’re part of that process moving forward when we finally select a head coach. But there’s also a chance it might not be there.”

He said they want to be open-minded in the search, but first, he wants to hear from the players in the exit meetings to understand what they are looking for.

He added there is no timeline for the coach selection process, but said they will start compiling names shortly.

Cheveldayoff did note that he has had a conversation with goaltending coach Wade Flaherty about a contract extension, but nothing has been finalized yet.

The GM also addressed comments from Mark Scheifele on Sunday following their game.

Scheifele said this past season is one he will try to forget and said it was an extremely tough year.

Scheifele also wasn’t clear about his future with the team, even though he is signed for two more seasons.

“I just have to know where this team is going and what the direction is and what the changes are going to be, if any,” he said Sunday.

“I have to think about my career and what’s going to be best for me."

Scheifele added he would be speaking with his agent and family before making a decision.

Cheveldayoff said what he heard from Scheifele as well as several players over the last few weeks is passion, adding Scheifele has not requested a trade. Cheveldayoff said he has not had his end-of-season interview yet with Scheifele.

“With respect to Mark, he is a talented player, he is in the prime of his career, he is all those things that he said he is and he is a Winnipeg Jet and he wants to win. As an organization, our vision, is we are going to have to take a little bit of a reassessment here to see where some of the things are at, but our goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” said Cheveldayoff.

Cheveldayoff also addressed the disappointment among the players and the team, saying entering the season, they felt they were a playoff team.

“I don’t think there is one guy in the room that didn’t think it was going to be a playoff team. I think the level of disappointment is because we didn’t even get beyond that,” he said. “This group here genuinely felt that there was supposed to be more and I think that’s why you get the valley of the valleys of lows that we have here right now.”

- With files from The Canadian Press