There's a buzz in the air in Winnipeg.
No, it's not the mosquitoes.
The Jets, who made their triumphant return to Winnipeg last year, have been the talk of the town. You can hear it on sports radio, read about it in the sports pages or see it trending on Twitter. Hockey season didn't end here when the Jets missed the playoffs or even when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup -- It's just the opposite.
From rumors about Evander Kane -- here we go again! -- to speculation about who will be the team's No. 9 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, all hockey has broken loose in Winnipeg.
According to published reports, restricted free-agent-to-be Ondrej Pavelec has been offered a one-year contract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League. Pavelec, who last season posted a record of 29-28-9 with a 2.91 goals against average, arguably was the team's most valuable player in 2011-12. He is sure to demand a hefty raise from his $1.3 million salary last season. With the league's current collective bargaining agreement set to expire in September, it's all a negotiating tactic, in my opinion.
As if Pavelec wasn't enough to worry about, rising star and restricted free agent Evander Kane, who scored a team-leading 30 goals last season, was rumored to want out Winnipeg. According to the rumors, Kane doesn't want to negotiate a new contract to remain in the River City. However, there has been nothing to substantiate these latest whispers. If it all sounds familiar, Kane was the subject of rumors earlier this season which never were validated. I guess some people never learn.
So what do we know to be true?
Well, the Jets hold the No. 9 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, which will take place on Friday, June 22 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh Pa. (Yahoo! Sports has a mock draft). Also, we know that the Jets will open the 2012-13 season at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, October 13. What happens between now and then should give this hockey-hungry town plenty to chew on.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. Follow Adam and the Jets on Twitter @PegCitySports.