WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said he understands the angst of fans who would have counselled him to make a move before today’s NHL trading deadline but he stood firm again on trying to build for the future.
"The hard part, and I feel for them (the fans) is that you’re always looking for that quick answer, that quick fix and man, oh man, you wish you could find it sometimes," Cheveldayoff told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. "Everything comes at a price. At some point in time we hopefully we will be the people that hopefully are going to be the ones that will be able to pay the prices and pay whatever is necessary to get that piece to win the Cup.
"There’s no guarantees. You’ve seen a lot of teams today, over the course of three or four days, make moves and you talk about the balance of power ... at the end of the day one team is going to win.
"For us, the opportunity to sign Jacob Trouba and know he’s going to be on the pro side of the mix next year, knowing that Mark Scheifele is someone that will be turning pro next year ... these are all things where we need to build assets within our organization.
"We’re going to work hard to try to build long-term assets."
Cheveldayoff agreed with a questioner that said today’s lack of activity, other than the claiming of Mike Santorelli from waivers from Florida, is a vote of confidence for the current team’s efforts to make the playoffs.
"This is the group that earned the opportunity to be battling at this point in time for a playoff position and will continue to battle moving forward," Cheveldayoff said. His team is at 38 points and in a tight race in both the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference.
Cheveldayoff wouldn't comment on how close he came to making any deal, or which players he may have targeted.
The GM said that the team’s current injury plight should start to ease soon. He expected that winger James Wright may be the first back off the injured-reserve list shortly.
"We have to find a way to fight through that," Cheveldayoff said.
Cheveldayoff didn’t deny that there is risk in not making a move or moves at the deadline.
"Essentially you make your choices by not doing that," he said. "The risk of not making a move, I guess you take the reverse of it and that becomes your move. Unless you have something that can absolutely replace what you’re giving up in your lineup in the situation that we’re in right now, it’s about the messages your send to your group."
The GM also said that the price for other teams’ assets is always high at the deadline.
The Jets had the cap space within which to operate had they chosen any moves today. Winnipeg is at about $58 million this season according to capgeek.com.
For next season, with the NHL cap coming down to $64.3 million, the Jets have just 10 players signed, with a commitment of $33.8 million to those players.
Free agents like Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian will need to be re-signed for 2013-14.