Kevin Cheveldayoff Really Stepped Up!

Looking at Winnipeg Jets G.M. Kevin Cheveldayoff’s season –

The Winnipeg Jets fan-base have watched three NHL Trade Deadlines come and go without much to write home about.  But in their fourth year, Winnipeg Jets fans certainly got their monies worth!

All Winnipeg Jets fans ever wanted was to be relevant in the weeks approaching the trade deadline and feel like part of the gang.  Thanks to the Winnipeg Jets solid play this season, they have been in a playoff position since November and even though they still haven’t clinched a playoff position they are definitely relevant in the Western Conference. 

Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t actually make a trade on “NHL Trade Deadline” day although he stated he was still listening and talking.  He started tweaking the roster in mid-December and completed his work the day before the made for TV extravaganza know as the “NHL Trade Deadline Day”.

It started with Jay Harrison:

I like the move that Kevin Cheveldayoff made picking up Jay Harrison from Carolina in mid-December when our blue-line was decimated by injuries.  Jay Harrison may not have been the best defenceman available but he came at a decent price and I believe that Paul Maurice’s familiarity with Harrison from his Toronto and Carolina days made this acquisition a comfortable fit for both parties involved.

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Jay Harrison has been a useful pick-up

Next:  “The Trade”  

The deal with the Sabres came as a surprise to most hockey observers because of how fast it happened.  With Evander Kane being injured, most pundits figured the Jets wouldn’t get value for Kane unless they waited until the off-season. The Jets sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and prospect Jason Kasdorf to Buffalo in exchange for pending UFA Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux along with a first round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.  

After the dust had settled in the Buffalo trade, it was believed that Winnipeg made out pretty well and maybe even better than most experts first thought.  It may take years to see who won this trade but if any or all of the prospects/picks pan out it could be a huge win for the Jets..  

A lot of fans thought removing the distraction of Evander Kane trade talk and speculation from the locker room was a big win for the team.  Evander Kane was probably the best player in the trade but Kevin Cheveldayoff did very well in his first “player for player” deal.  Even the haters had to tip their hats.

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Tyler Myers has been better than advertised on the Jets blue-line

Next:  Another call to Ron Francis

After the Buffalo trade, the truth of the matter was that the Jets were still down a forward with the Mathieu Perreault injury and that would need to be addressed. The Jets third and fourth lines were still a mess.  Once again, Chevy went knocking on Carolina’s door looking to acquire Jiri Tlusty, another familiar face to coach Paul Maurice.  Maurice had Jiri Tlusty in Toronto and Carolina and obviously signed off on Kevin Cheveldayoff making this deal.  Smart move! Tlusty has a history with the coach and two of his best friends are on the Jets roster in Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Frolik.  It also didn’t hurt that Tlusty is a pretty good hockey player capable of playing up and down your line-up as needed.

Next:   The final piece 

The Jiri Tlusty trade now allowed the Winnipeg Jets to move Dustin Byfuglien back to defence where he has been a beast.  BUT, the bottom six could still use a little help so Kevin Cheveldayoff consummated a trade the day before the deadline while his team was on the ice playing and beating the L.A. Kings by acquiring steady journeyman forward Lee Stempniak.  Another solid veteran pick-up that allows the Winnipeg Jets to field a forward group that is as solid as we have ever seen in the Jets four years in Winnipeg.  The Winnipeg Jets actually have depth at forward.  Imagine that!  AND, it only gets better if they can stay healthy and welcome back Mathieu Perreault.

I have often wondered out loud what Kevin Cheveldayoff was doing or what he was waiting for and especially last year when Mark Scheifele was injured just before last years trade deadline and he chose to stand pat.

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Kevin Cheveldayoff is having a good season

Did that have anything to do with this years activity?  That remains to be seen but it was nice to see the Winnipeg Jets in the news, making moves but more importantly the G.M. has sent a message to his team that he believes in them.

Now before Jets fans start planning the parade route, the Jets still need to clinch a playoff spot.  It’s going to be a dog fight right until the end of the season and it’s not going to be easy but I, like most Jets fans, feel the team is now well equipped for a playoff run.

I have never been accused of being part of #TeamChevy and I have often been very critical of some of Kevin Cheveldayoff’s dealings in the past BUT in fairness, Chevy and his scouting staff have done a nice job at the draft and are stock piling some top-end prospects.  He has won some deals (Michael Frolik) and lost some deals (Devin Setoguchi) as well as making some good UFA signings (Mathieu Perreault) as well as some duds (Olli Jokinen) etc., etc.  It is not easy being the GM in a hockey crazed market like Winnipeg with a half million arm-chair GM’s critiquing your every move but I must give credit where credit is due.

Well done Chevy!

 

Note:

(Chevy actually made a minor league deal in October sending Eric Tangradi to Montreal for Peter Budaj and Peter Holland.)

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Comments

  1. CVermeer says

    Excuse the boring comment, but I agree with you. I can’t fault his drafting, and now he’s made some what looks to me to be great trades – loving the new guys. So far they seem to fit well, hard to say with Stempniak yet as it is too early, but I’ve been thrilled to bits with Stafford and Myers, and Tlusty even though it is a very small sampling of the latter. I’d imagine it is a welcome treat for three of those guys coming from poor teams, to be playing on a contender. Probably gives them a huge boost. Picking up Perreault goes without saying – WIN! Carry on, Chevy!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I got to see Stempniak quite a bit with the Coyotes and he has good offensive skills … kind of sneaky … I hope they can jell quickly because there is a ton of work to do to clinch a playoff spot … after that you never know?

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