Kevin Cheveldayoff’s cellphone was vibrating like a cheap motel bed with a quarter in it but he was still able take a playful shot at his assembled lieutenants.
Cheveldayoff walked by his horde of pro scouts chowing down on a free press-box meal after a long day of trade deadline meetings and flipped a zinger in their direction within earshot of a few media members.
"They’ll still find a way to claim per diem," said Cheveldayoff with a smirk.
Cheveldayoff is looking to add to his team prior to the deadline but remains unwilling to part with futures to acquire a rental player for a playoff push that at best would result in a first round date with a Western Conference powerhouse. Just as likely is a scenario where the Jets flirt with a berth but still come up short. Cheveldayoff is quite right to refuse offers to relieve him of prospects or draft picks for players that will hit the open market in July as unrestricted free agents.
Still, there are hockey deals to be made and the hot talk surrounding the Jets last night centred around a possible trade with the San Jose Sharks. The names mentioned on the Jets’ end were Devin Setoguchi and Chris Thorburn. The San Jose side of the ledger featured Adam Burish, James Sheppard and Tyler Kennedy.
Why trade Seto: Since scoring 31 goals in 2008-09, Setoguchi’s production has slid and he has 11 goals this season. His effort is uneven from night to night. He’s a shooter but doesn’t do enough on a nightly basis to put himself into position to score. Defensively he’s so-so.
Why not trade Seto: An explosive shot and a knack for success in the shootout. Trading Setoguchi is fine but only if Cheveldayoff can replace his ability to score. Also not to be discounted is his ability in the shootout. He’s 4-for-7 on the season in the shootout.
Why trade Thorburn: The only reason to ship out Thorburn is the return. He’s a classic fourth liner and does his job well. Is willing to fight for his teammates and is a solid leader in the dressing room. But by job description he’s replaceable. The Sharks could use depth on their fourth line and a banger like Thorburn could be valuable in the post-season when a coach wants to grind down the opposition.
Why not trade Thorburn: Teams need players with soul to go with high end talent and that’s Thorburn. There’s no questioning his commitment and what he gives game in and game out. Never to be confused for a sniper, he’s a player that makes a difference in a lot of ways and the Jets have a shortage of players like Thorburn.
Shark bait: Kennedy scored 21 goals in 2010-11 while with the Pittsburgh Penguins and can play a two-way game. Burish has mostly been injured this year and is likely an AHL level player at this stage. The wild card in the deal is Sheppard, taken ninth overall by the Minnesota Wild back in 2006. Big and with offensive instincts, he might be worth taking a chance on to see if he can reach his potential.
Stu or no Stu: Jets defenceman Mark Stuart is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this July and there has been talk the he’d be traded at today’s deadline. Cheveldayoff and Stuart’s agent Matt Keator have had preliminary discussions on a contract extension and Stuart told me last week he wants to stay in Winnipeg. Cheveldayoff likely knows what it will take to keep Stuart in a Jets uniform and if the price is what he deems reasonable, he won’t be trading Stuart.
Keator has this to say Tuesday night: "We have had some good discussions and we’ll see where things go. Mark loves Winnipeg and has made it clear that he wants to stay if a fair deal can be reached."
Expect Stuart to remain with the Jets.
Pass the Buck: Former Bombers QB Buck Pierce retired yesterday and the Free Press can confirm he has had discussions with Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters about a future with the team. A source said last night, "there have been talks and the talks are continuing." One scenario would see Pierce join the Bombers as a quality control coach for this season and then ease into a quarterbacks coach role.